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A doctor wearing a white coat and a blue mask injecting a shot into a man's left bicep

Do you need an updated COVID vaccine?

According to the CDC:

  • Adults 18 years and older for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines should receive the updated vaccine at least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
  • Also, teens aged 16 to 17 years can get an updated Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
  • For the nearly 15 million people who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, updated vaccine shots with a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Now that the FDA has approved [the updated vaccine shot], it’s an important tool for most individuals,” says Bronwen Garner, M.D., chair of Piedmont’s Infectious Disease Clinical Governing Council.

Does the need for updated vaccine shots mean the vaccine doesn’t work?

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t need updated vaccine shots because the original vaccine failed. It’s simply that some people’s bodies may not have made enough antibodies from the first round of shots. The purpose of the vaccine and the updated vaccine is twofold, explains Dr. Garner: “It gives your system more ammunition on the outside to protect against COVID, and if you do get it, your body will be able to clear the infection much faster.” Even with the Delta variant on the rise in recent months, she says, “Patients who were vaccinated had a better reaction.”

Furthermore, while the scientific community will take time to complete its testing, vaccinating against COVID does seem to reduce the chance of transmission.

When should I get an updated vaccine shot?

If you first received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, you can get an updated vaccine at least 6 months after your second shot. If you first received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, you can get an updated vaccine at least 2 months after your second shot. As for which updated vaccine you should get, it doesn’t matter. You can choose any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States.

To make an appointment with a Piedmont physician and save time, book online.


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