COVID-19 Booster Shot FAQs – August 2021
Last Revised August 20, 2021
Will Howard Brown contact me when I’m due for the booster?
Yes. If you previously registered through the Healthvana app with Howard Brown and opted into receiving text messages, we will send a text message out when we can schedule you for a booster shot according to CDC guidance.
Do I need to wait eight months or can I come in sooner?
The CDC and FDA have yet to approve booster shots for the general population. If this is approved, the general population will need to wait the designated period of time before receiving their booster.
I heard people were getting their third booster shot by going to a different place than they got their first two doses. Why can’t Howard Brown just give me a booster now?
The booster shot that is available right now is for people who have not achieved a good immune response with two doses. It is common for someone with a healthy immune system to have their immunity against a specific virus wane over time. For example, tetanus booster shots are given every several years. Booster shots help strengthen someone’s immunity to better fight against severe disease. The timing of the booster is specifically scheduled achieve an adequate level of immunity for people whose immunity has weakened over time. We want to help ensure everyone has immunity levels adequate to fight the Delta variant. It is better for people with good immunity now to wait because their immunity now is adequate, and boosting later will provide greater protection that lasts longer. We strongly recommend that people who are interested in receiving a booster shot wait until the recommended time frame provided by the CDC and FDA.
Will Howard Brown be organizing mass vaccination events again?
Howard Brown supports strategies to vaccinate as many community members as possible. We hope and anticipate the demand for boosters will correspond with the events we held last spring. We will also continue to work with community partners to ensure we are getting booster shots to the communities that need it.
If I am experiencing “long COVID-19,” should I get a booster shot?
There is nothing to suggest that people experiencing prolonged COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the recommended vaccination series. This would include a booster when or if it is approved.
Which vaccine should I get for the booster? Is it better to stick with the same one I already received, or change to the other mRNA vaccine to provide perhaps better immunity?
The CDC recommends people continue with the same series as their first two doses. There are ongoing studies looking at immune response with “mixing” vaccines, but we do not have conclusive data yet.
Why is the J&J vaccine not included in the recommendation for the booster shot?
The J&J vaccine distribution did not begin until March 2021, and the CDC is still compiling data on long-term immunity from this vaccine. We should have guidance for J&J recipients in the coming weeks.
What are the risks or associated side effects of the booster shot if I had a significant reaction to the second shot?
In studies to date, the third dose has not led to an increased risk of side effects. If you had a significant reaction to the second shot, you should discuss this with your provider. However, fever, body aches, or fatigue usually subside within a day or two and are not reasons to hold off on a third dose. Many people do not have the same reaction after the third shot that they did after the previous shots.
Is it better to wait for a booster designed to protect against the variants like Delta?
At this time, there is no production of variant-specific boosters. We recommend following guidance to receive boosters when approved by the CDC.
How will the third dose be documented, especially if the first two doses were from another state?
Everyone who receives a booster shot will receive updated documentation according to the guidance of the CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health. We can also enter your vaccine record into our electronic medical records. If you have received your vaccine elsewhere in Illinois, but not at Howard Brown, we can import your records through the state registry. The third dose will be documented like the previous doses.