Q. Who is eligible to receive a booster dose?
A. All Coast Guard military members and employees are considered first responders meeting the high-risk occupational or institutional exposure criteria and are strongly encouraged to get a booster if their last Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dose was six or more months ago. If a member received the Johnson and Johnson (J & J) vaccine, they should receive a booster dose of that vaccine two months after receiving the first dose.
Q. Do I have to prove I’m eligible?
A. Proof of occupation is not required to receive a booster. Personnel should refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine card, or contact their clinic, to verify six months have elapsed since their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their Johnson and Johnson (J & J) vaccine.
Q. Are booster doses recommended for all three types of vaccines?
A. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have now authorized booster doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J & J) COVID-19 vaccines. Any eligible CG member or employee is encouraged to get the booster.
Q. If I want to get a booster, when should I get it? How do I know when I might be due for a booster?
A. If you received either of the mRNA vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna – you are eligible for a booster six months after the second dose of either vaccine. If you received the Johnson and Johnson (J & J) vaccine, you should receive a booster dose of the J & J vaccine two months after receiving the first dose.
Q. Where can I go to get a booster dose?
A. Booster doses for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are available at CG clinics and civilian pharmacies.
Q: If I think I am eligible for a booster, where can I get one?
A: Pfizer booster shots are available at USCG pharmacies, as well as other locations, including civilian healthcare providers and local pharmacies.
Q: How do I know if it’s been six months since my last dose?
A: Review your CDC shot card if you have one, check with your PCP or the site where you received your vaccine, or visit your state immunization registry.
Q: When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?
A: Additional people may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data becomes available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.
Q: How long will protection last following vaccination?
A: We do not know how long protection will last following vaccination but it will be critically important to measure long-term protection in the phase 3 trials and in other groups prioritized for early vaccination. We are still learning about the duration of protection following infection with COVID-19 and it is too early to tell how long protection will last.
Q: Can I still get sick with the COVID-19 disease once I have been vaccinated?
A: Yes, even though the vaccine is highly effective (has a high efficacy), it’s still possible for a vaccinated person to become ill. The protection provided by the vaccine is not immediate after receiving the second dose. Current information indicates it takes time for a person’s immune system to fully respond to the vaccine and produce antibodies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), evidence from clinical trials indicates that the Pfizer vaccine reaches full potential, 95% efficacy, at least 7 days after the second dose. At the 95% effective rate, approximately 5% of those who receive both doses of the vaccine may still get the COVID-19 disease. Clinical trial data for the Moderna vaccine indicate that it reaches full potential, approximately 94% efficacy, at least 14 days after the second dose.
You can read more from the CDC about the different COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html.
Q. Do I need to get a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated?
A. A booster dose is not currently required to be in compliance with either the Coast Guard military or federal civilian employee vaccine mandate. Personnel are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Pfeizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after receiving the J & J vaccine.
Q. What’s the most important thing I can do to protect myself against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19?
A. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging. If you have not done so already – start your vaccine series now.
Q. Can I “mix and match” my booster dose? In other words, can I receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that is different than the vaccine I received for my initial/primary series?
A. Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations now allow for “mix and match” dosing for booster shots. “Mix and match” COVID-19 vaccine administration for the primary series (first two doses) is NOT authorized except in exceptional circumstances.