COVID-19: Vaccine Program | TestingVisitor Guidelines | Information for Employees

MONKEYPOX: UConn Health is NOT currently offering the monkeypox vaccine. Please visit the CT DPH website for more information or contact your health provider directly.

COVID-19 Boosters and Third Doses

Recent Changes

New Bivalent Booster: We are now scheduling appointments for the bivalent booster. The bivalent booster is the new standard for those ages 12 and up (Pfizer) and 18 and up (Moderna) and is generally recommended for anyone 12 and older who is more than two months out from their last vaccine.

Boosters vs. Third Doses

A third dose is for people who are moderately or severely immune-compromised; their initial immune response from the first 2 doses may not have been strong enough, so a third dose is recommended as part of their primary vaccine series. These individuals can get a third dose as soon as 28 days after their second.

A booster shot is an additional dose of vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to weaken over time. A booster is intended to help people maintain immunity for a longer period of time.

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Eligibility

Everyone age 5 and older who has completed their initial vaccine series can get a booster shot, including those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

  • Those ages 12 and up who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine at least 2 months ago can now get a bivalent booster shot. Pfizer-BioNTech is approved for ages 12 and up, and Moderna is approved for ages 18 and up.
  • Those ages 5-11 years old who received the initial COVID-19 vaccine series can currently receive the monovalent booster.
  • Those who are ages 12 and up, are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and have completed their primary series at least 2 months ago are eligible for an age-appropriate bivalent booster shot.

See more from the CDC about who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot and other important information about boosters.

Which Brand of Booster Dose to Schedule?

For people ages 5-17, Pfizer-BioNTech is the only approved booster at this time.

The FDA and the CDC support the use of a different booster product for an individual’s booster shot than that used for the original series. For patients receiving a second booster shot, only an mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) may be administered.

Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, have completed their 3-shot initial series, and are 5-17 years of age can only get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, have completed their 3-shot initial series, and are 18 years of age and older can schedule a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Patients ages 5-17 or their parent or guardian can call 860-679-5589 to schedule their Pfizer booster shot. Patients ages 16 and up can schedule their booster through MyChart.

COVID-19 Third Dose – Recommendations for Immunocompromised

The CDC has issued third dose (Pfizer or Moderna) recommendations for individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

You are eligible to receive a third dose if you are either:

  1. Aged 5 and above and have completed the two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days ago; or
  2. Aged 18 and up and have completed the two shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days ago;

And you are moderately or severely immunocompromised; specifically, that at least one of the following applies to you:

  • You have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;
  • You have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system;
  • You have received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medication to suppress the immune system;
  • You have a moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
  • You have advanced or untreated HIV infection; or
  • You are undergoing active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

If you are unsure if the medication you take is an immune-suppressing or immune-modulating medicine, which would make you eligible for a third dose of the vaccine, please see this list of medications (this list is not intended to be all-inclusive). You can also speak with your health care provider about your medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for you.

Scheduling is available by phone at 860-679-5589. Please note, we will not take walk-ins for third doses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a third dose and a booster?

  • Third doses are recommended for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. Studies have found that some immunocompromised people do not develop the same level of immunity after vaccination the way that non-immunocompromised people do and that they may benefit from a third dose to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19. Those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may receive a third dose if they received their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days ago.
  • A booster is an additional dose of vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to diminish over time. A booster is intended to help people maintain immunity for a longer period of time.

How long should people wait between receiving another vaccine (such as a flu vaccine) and a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days.

Booster Shots

Do I qualify for a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone ages 5 and older can get a booster shot.

  • If you are 12 years or older and received the COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago, you are eligible to receive a bivalent booster shot. For people ages 5-11 years old, only the Pfizer monovalent booster is approved at this time.
  • If you received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine at least 2 months ago and are 18 years old or older, you are eligible to receive a bivalent booster shot.
  • If you are immunocompromised, are 12 years of age or older, and have completed your primary series or your most recent booster at least 2 months ago, you are eligible for a bivalent booster. Those who are between 12 and 17 years old are eligible for Pfizer bivalent booster only at this time. Those who are 18+ years old are eligible for a Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster. If you are between 5 and 11 years old, you are eligible for a Pfizer monovalent booster if you completed your 3-dose primary series of Pfizer at least 3 months ago.

Read additional CDC guidance for the immunocompromised, including information for those receiving J&J vaccines and boosters.

Which booster should I get?

For people ages 5-17, Pfizer is the only approved booster at this time.

For moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 18 and up, you can receive a booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

For everyone else ages 18 and up, regardless of which COVID-19 vaccine you received for your initial vaccinations, you may receive a Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster at least two months after completion of your primary series or most recent booster. Your booster may be a different product from your primary series.

How long should I wait before I get a COVID-19 booster shot?

Eligible people 5-11 years who received Pfizer should wait at least 5 months after their second dose to receive a monovalent Pfizer booster.

Eligible people ages 12 and up who received Pfizer or Moderna should wait at least 2 months after their second dose. People 12-17 years old are only eligible for a Pfizer bivalent booster at this time. People who are 18+ years old are eligible for a Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster.

People who are immunocompromised, and are at least 12 years old, are eligible for a bivalent booster at least 2 months after completion of their primary series or their most recent booster dose. Those ages 12-17 are only eligible for a Pfizer bivalent booster. Those 18+ years old are eligible for either Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster.

People 18 years and older should wait at least 2 months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to receive a Moderna or Pfizer bivalent booster.

Are the booster shots the same as the initial vaccines?

For ages 5-11, the COVID-19 booster shots are the same as the initial COVID-19 vaccines. Those ages 12 and up are now receiving the new bivalent booster.

Are there any risks associated with the booster shots?

The CDC reports that reactions to the booster shot are similar to the initial doses. The most commonly reported side effects are fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site, and most side effects were mild to moderate. Serious side effects may occur but are rare.

Third Dose (For Immunocompromised People)

Do I qualify for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC recommends a third dose for patients ages 5 and up who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. This includes those with the following conditions:

  • Active or recent treatment for cancer
  • Previous stem cell transplant or CAR T-cell therapy
  • Previous solid organ transplant (such as a kidney or liver transplant)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with immune-suppressing medications, including high-dose corticosteroids, chemotherapy, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, and other biologic agents that suppress or modulate the immune system

This recommendation only applies to individuals who received an mRNA vaccine, in other words, the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. At this time, the CDC is not recommending an additional dose for patients who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, even if they are immunocompromised. However, those who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine are now eligible for a booster shot if they received their initial dose at least 2 months ago.

If I qualify for a third dose, how long do I need to wait after my second dose of an mRNA vaccine before receiving an additional dose?

If you have one of the above conditions, you are eligible to receive a third dose if:

  1. You received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, at least 28 days have passed since your last dose, and you are at least 5 years old;

or

  1. You received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, at least 28 days have passed since your last dose, and you are at least 18 years old.

If I received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, do I qualify for a third vaccine dose or a dose of an mRNA vaccine?

If you are immunocompromised and received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, you should get a  monovalent dose of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 weeks later. You should then receive a bivalent booster of Pfizer or Moderna  2 months after completion of the mRNA dose.

If I qualify for a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, should I have a COVID-19 antibody test prior to receiving an additional dose?

No. The use of antibody (serologic) testing to make a decision about receiving an additional dose of vaccine is not recommended at this time.

If I qualify for a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and received a Pfizer mRNA vaccine for my initial doses, which vaccine should I receive for my additional dose?

The third mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose should be the same vaccine product as the initial 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 primary vaccine series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). If the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product given for the first two doses is unavailable, the other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

If I qualify for a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, do I need a doctor’s note to receive the vaccine?

No. You do not need a doctor’s note to receive any dose of the vaccine, including the third doses or boosters.

Should those who are immunocompromised continue to take precautionary measures after they get vaccinated?

Yes. People who are immunocompromised may have a reduced immune response to COVID-19 vaccines. They should continue to follow current preventive measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their health care professional. Close contacts of immunocompromised people should also be strongly encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect these people.