COVID Q&A: Booster doses now recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older

May 24, 2022
Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho’s state epidemiologist and Division of Public Health medical director

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded and strengthened its recommendation for COVID-19 booster shots.

CDC expanded booster recommendations to children 5 through 11 years old. As cases increase in Idaho and across the country, a booster dose can help vaccinated children avoid getting sick enough to have to go to the hospital. Since the pandemic began, more than 4.8 million children ages 5 through 11 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those, 15,000 have been hospitalized and, tragically, more than 180 have died, the CDC said last week in its statement.

Who should get a booster now?

Everyone 5 years old and older should get a COVID-19 booster dose after they have received the primary series of the vaccine. Those who got Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are eligible 5 months after the initial series, and those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible at least two months after the first dose. Pfizer is currently the only vaccine recommended for children ages 5-17.

In addition, CDC strengthened its recommendation that those 12 and older who are immunocompromised and those 50 and older should receive a second booster dose at least 4 months after their first.

Why should vaccinated people get a booster dose now?

COVID-19 cases are increasing in Idaho, as the latest data shows. Protection from COVID-19 vaccines decreases over time, and the virus continues to change and may infect more people. A booster dose will improve your level of protection against the virus so you can avoid getting sick enough to have to go to the hospital, or worse.

How do I get a booster dose?

There are a few ways to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.

  • Use the Vaccine Finder to find more information about vaccine locations, the vaccine brands available, and walk-in or scheduling details.
  • If you have a cell phone, you can text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX) to have vaccine locations in your area pushed to you. For Spanish, text your zip code to 822862 (VACUNA). You can also contact the national call center at 1-800-232-0233. 
  • You also may want to discuss your options with your regular healthcare provider. More information about vaccines in your area may be available by visiting your local public health district website.

Dr. Christine Hahn is Idaho’s state epidemiologist and the Division of Public Health’s medical director. She is board certified in infectious disease and works in an Idaho tuberculosis clinic twice monthly. She also serves on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and since late February 2020, has been focusing almost solely on responding to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.