Boosters, Third Doses and What Comes Next

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By News Team on September 10, 2021

Many people who were vaccinated in December or earlier this year are asking if it is time for a booster shot. The answer is soon, but not quite yet. 

The government and public health officials have announced that boosters should be available later this fall for all Americans who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. They are still reviewing data to determine if those who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine will need a booster. 

The CDC has also recommended third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for some immunocompromised individuals. The list of those who are eligible for the third dose of the vaccine varies by health system.

Nathan Everson, Pharm.D., is a clinical pharmacy specialist for Infectious Diseases at Carilion Clinic Pharmacy. He recently sat down to answer questions about third doses and booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Here is a timing guide to help you easily find the answers you're looking for:

What’s the difference between a third dose and booster? (:03)

Who will need a third dose and who will need a booster? (:59)

Who qualifies as immunocompromised and in need of a third dose? (2:00)

Do all three vaccines offer third doses for the immunocompromised? (3:07)

How does a booster work? (3:44)

Will additional boosters be needed? (4:32)

Why do the recommendations keep changing? (5:11)

Will the booster have side effects? (6:00)

Where can someone get the vaccine? (6:35)

Do the immunocompromised need a referral or documentation to show they’re eligible for the third dose? (7:03)


Note that this guidance is constantly evolving. We will work to update it regularly, but be sure to visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for timely and regularly updated information. To learn more, you can also consult your primary care provider or visit

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