ThirdVaccineDoseQandA COVID-19 Vaccine Additional Doses Questions & Answers

​​This information is no longer accurate and is for historical purposes only. For the latest on COVID-19 Vaccines, please visit the Get the Facts on Vaccines page.​

COVID-19 Vaccine Additional Doses Questions & Answers

Upd​ates as of June 1, 2023:

  • ​Aligned with the Federal Food and Drug Admin​istration (FDA) to revoke the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.​

Who is eligible for an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized additional doses for those 6 months and older who are immunocompromised.  Immunocompromised people include individuals who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years
  •  Been taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Been in active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

Why isn't everyone eligible for an additional vaccine dose?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) continue to review data as it pertains to protecting our communities against severe illness and death. Additional vaccine doses from mRNA vaccines have shown to be helpful for people aged 6 months and older who are immunocompromised in a manner similar to those who have undergone solid organ transplantation have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases. Those who are immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to infections, including COVID-19. The administration of additional vaccine doses has been shown to increase protection in these populations.

What if I'm not eligible and still want to get an additional dose because I have other pre-existing medical conditions?

Talk to your healthcare provider to see if additional doses are recommended for you.​

Ho​w is the state defining 'immunocompromised,' and will Californians be required to verify they are immunocompromised?

California will follow the guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC. ACIP will take the FDA modifications to the vaccine's Emergency Use Authorizations and create channels based on current evidence of effectiveness and safety.

The authorizations cover people aged 6 months and up who are solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have a moderate or severe level of immunocompromise. Verification of immunocompromised status will not be required. Your medical provider can help clarify if you meet the threshold for immunocompromised or not.​​

How does someone find and receive an additional vaccine dose?

Additional vaccine doses will be available through all current vaccination channels, including healthcare providers, clinics, and neighborhood pharmacies. Visit MyTurn.ca.gov to make an appointment or find a walk-in clinic.

When should I receive my additional vaccine dose?

Additional doses can be received after the minimum time has passed following completion of the initial vaccine series. The minimum time required varies based on the primary series. For more information, see COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Chart in Related Materials above.

Can a person get an additional vaccine dose from a different vaccine brand, or do they need to stay with the brand for their original supplier?

Additional doses should be the same product as administered for the primary vaccine series.

Why would I want to get an additional vaccine dose?

People who are immunocompromised are less able to fight infections and other diseases. As they are especially vulnerable to infections, they may benefit from additional doses to mount a sufficient defense against diseases like COVID-19. You should talk to your healthcare provider about your medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for you.

Can I get multiple additional doses?

After consulting with their healthcare provider, people may receive a different number of additional doses depending on which vaccine product is chosen for the primary series. Additional doses can be received after the minimum time has passed following completion of the initial vaccine series. Currently, additional vaccine doses are only authorized for immunocompromised individuals by the FDA and recommended by the CDC.

Find more information under Related Materials at the top of the page or see the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility (PDF) sheet.

What is the current CA Public Health Order regarding COVID-19 vaccination?

Find important state guidance on activities related to COVID-19 on CDPH's Find All Guidance page. Sign up to receive alerts for updates to California state public health officer orders and public health mandates related to COVID-19 in 14 languages.

Will digital vaccine records be updated to show that individuals have received the additional dose of vaccines?

Yes, the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record has been updated and will show the additional dose. However, your previously saved vaccine record will not automatically update, so a new version will need to be re-downloaded to reflect that you have received an additional and/or booster dose.

We recommend waiting five days for your new dose to show up in the California Immunization Registry.

If I get an additional dose, will it show on my digital vaccine record?

Your digital vaccine record does not automatically update. If you receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you'll have to get a new QR code through the Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record portal.

We recommend waiting five days for your new dose to show up in the California Immunization Registry.

Will an antibody or other test show whether I need an additional dose?

We do not recommend using antibodies or any other tests to determine protection from the virus at this time. There is significant variability from one antibody test to another, and further studies are needed to ensure correlation between antibody levels and degree of protection from COVID-19 and its variants.

Does receiving an additional vaccine dose eliminate the need for further harm-reduction precautions?

To prevent severe illness and death, a comprehensive approach to harm-reduction is needed. In addition to receiving all eligible doses, it is a good idea to keep all Californians safe by staying SMART: masking up to limit the spread of germs, staying aware of rising cases in your area, staying home when sick, and getting tested when experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

Is there a test to determine who qualifies as an immunocompromised individual?

No, if you think you qualify as immunocompromised, please check with your healthcare provider to confirm you are eligible for an additional dose.

As a person with a weak immune system, once I get an additional dose, can I reduce the use of other precautions such as masking, distancing, and avoiding groups and crowds?

No, because even with an extra dose of mRNA vaccine, not everyone with a compromised immune system builds immunity at the same rate. Further studies are needed to ensure correlation between antibody levels and degree of protection from COVID-19 and its variants. It is important to continue following harm-reduction strategies to keep yourself safer from COVID-19​​.


Originally published August 16, 2021