Why get a third dose or booster dose?

All three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States protect most of us against serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. So why do some people need a third dose or booster dose?

Federal authorization of booster doses and third doses doesn’t mean your original one- or two-dose vaccine series is not working.

Why get a third dose?

A third dose is for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. This means they are unable to build an immune response to COVID-19 through their initial vaccination. Right now, third doses are only authorized for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. People who get a third dose should not get a booster.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 3% of people in the United States need a third dose for this reason. In their review of research related to vaccine effectiveness and hospitalizations among the fully vaccinated, the CDC found that:

  • Vaccine effectiveness decreased for some immunocompromised groups; and
  • In some studies, at least 40 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations among the fully vaccinated were immunocompromised people.

If you are immunocompromised and think you may need a third dose, consult with your doctor or medical provider about your options.

Why get a booster dose?

A booster is a vaccine dose that may be given to someone whose immune response from the primary vaccine series begins to wane over time or to those at higher risk of severe disease or infection due to working or living conditions.

If you are not in one of these groups, you are still well-protected against COVID-19.

As the CDC explains, recent studies suggest that protection provided by the vaccine may decrease over time for some people.

Many vaccines require boosters:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)
  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)
  • Varicella (chickenpox)
  • Shingles
  • Pneumonia

All COVID-19 vaccines, booster doses and third doses are free and available near you.

You can get booster doses and third doses at the same locations you would get your first dose(s) of the COVID-19 vaccine, at no cost to you. You do not need to present payment or have health insurance to get the vaccine. You may be required to self-attest to your immunocompromised condition before receiving a third dose of your vaccine. Vaccines are safe and the most effective way to protect us against serious illness, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Learn where to find a vaccine site near you today at GetVaccinated.Oregon.gov.