With the federal government recommending booster shots for certain recipients of all three kinds of COVID-19 vaccines, things are getting trickier to track.

What you should know is that while the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all working well to prevent serious COVID-19 cases and deaths, research shows an additional dose can amp up the protection for those who need it most.

Booster doses for all three vaccines are available in Washington state.

Our simple flow chart can help you determine your eligibility, and we’re continuing to update the guide below it with more of the latest details on who’s eligible for each shot.

Pfizer or Moderna
Has it been at least six months since your second dose?
Yes No
Are you age 65 or older?
Yes No
Are you age 18 or older with underlying medical conditions or do you live or work in a long-term care or high-risk setting*?
Yes No
Eligible Not eligible
Johnson & Johnson
Has it been at least two months since your dose?
YesNo
EligibleNot eligible
*Long-term care settings include care facilities, senior housing and group homes. High-risk settings apply to first responders, school workers, grocery workers, public-transit employees and more.

Pfizer and Moderna

The CDC recommends a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot if you’re 18 or older, completed your last shot at least six months ago and fall into at least one of these categories:

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  • You live in a long-term care setting such as a care facility, senior housing or a group home.
  • You have an underlying medical condition like the ones listed here. (If you have a condition that’s not on the list, talk to your doctor.)
  • You have a mental health condition that puts you at risk.
  • You’re in a group that faces certain health and social inequities.
  • You work in a high-risk setting: This applies to first responders, school workers, grocery workers, public-transit employees and more.
  • You live in a high-risk setting.
  • You’re 65 years or older.

Johnson & Johnson

The CDC recommends all J&J recipients 18 and older get a second dose at least two months after their initial vaccination.

More on the COVID-19 pandemic

‘Mixing and matching’

The CDC is allowing Americans who are eligible for boosters to get a different COVID-19 vaccine than the one they initially received, although the agency doesn’t explicitly recommend it. The government doesn’t specify which booster to choose, but as individuals navigate that decision on their own, here’s what the research tells us.

Getting your booster

King County and Seattle have reopened vaccination clinics to help provide booster shots, and vaccines are also available at pharmacies, primary care clinics, community health centers and other health care facilities throughout the region.

Bring your vaccination card; here’s what to do if you’ve lost it.

The next booster after that

Some immunocompromised U.S. adults who got a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot will qualify for another one starting in early 2022, updated CDC guidelines specify. The fourth dose must come at least six months after the third, and recipients can take their pick of vaccine brands.

What about vaccines for kids?

Children ages 5 and up can get their initial Pfizer shots now. Here are tips on looking for kids’ vaccine appointments in Washington state.

Children under age 5 will have a longer wait; Moderna and Pfizer are studying how the vaccines are working on them.

Navigating the pandemic
(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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