Find out when you need follow-up doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

Last updated on April 12, 2022.

Available languages: Español | Tiếng Việt | 中文 | Soomaali | العربية | नेपाली

 
Find out how many doses you or your child will need with our COVID-19 vaccine follow-up dose calculator.

COVID-19 vaccines work well to protect people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and even dying. Immunity from vaccines can drop over time. Staying up to date with all recommended doses is the best way to keep up protection for you, your loved ones, and the community. 

Everyone ages 5 years and older should get at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Everyone ages 12 years and older should get at least three doses for the highest level of protection. It is recommended that some people get four or five doses depending on their age and medical conditions.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. You don’t need an ID or insurance to get a vaccine. Find a follow-up dose near you.

Third/fourth (booster) doses

Who should get a third dose? 

You should get another dose if you:

  • Are 12 or older and received your second dose of Pfizer at least five months ago.

  • Are 18 or older and received your second dose of Moderna at least five months ago.

If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get a dose of either Pfizer or Moderna two months or more after you first got vaccinated. If you got Johnson & Johnson for your first and second doses, you may then receive a third dose (second booster) of Pfizer or Moderna four months after your second dose.

If you are immunocompromised and got three doses of Pfizer, you should get a fourth dose three months after your third. If you are immunocompromised and got three doses of Moderna, you should get a fourth dose three months after your third dose. If you are immunocompromised and got a single dose of Johnson & Johnson, you should get an additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna four weeks or more after you first got vaccinated, followed by a third dose (booster) two months after your second dose. mRNA vaccines are preferred for the third dose (booster) for immunocompromised individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson primary vaccination.

Anyone age 12 or older who is due for a third dose should make a plan to get one. We encourage you to speak with your health care provider if you have questions.

 

Who can get a fourth or fifth dose/second booster?

According to CDC’s recommendation, certain people may benefit from a second booster of COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on which vaccine you originally got and whether or not you are immunocompromised, this follow-up dose may be your third, fourth, or fifth dose.

People who may get another follow-up dose include:

  • People aged 50 and older.
  • People aged 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
  • People who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for both their first and second doses.

You can get your third/fourth/fifth dose (also known as a second booster) at least four months after your second/third/fourth dose (your first booster). Your third/fourth/fifth dose should be either Pfizer or Moderna. 

People who may benefit most from another dose are people who are at higher risk because of their age, medical conditions, or living or working situations. These risk factors make it more likely that you will get very sick or need to be hospitalized from COVID-19. Talking with a health care provider can help you learn more about whether it’s best for you to get another dose. However, talking with a health care provider before getting your third, fourth, or fifth dose is not required.
 

Does my third/fourth/fifth dose need to be the same kind of vaccine as my initial doses?
  • It depends on your age and whether you’ve already received a booster dose. If you’re 18 or older, you can get any authorized vaccine for your first booster. We strongly recommend getting either Pfizer or Moderna. 

  • Your second booster can only be Pfizer or Moderna.

  • People aged 12-17 may only receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time.

 

Why do I need another dose if I am already fully vaccinated?
  • Staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines gives you the highest level of protection from severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Vaccine effectiveness varies by vaccine product and may drop over time. Follow-up doses help make sure you stay protected after a certain amount of time has passed since you first got vaccinated with your primary series. This can keep you from getting sick or needing to go to the hospital.

  • Coloradans who got three doses:

    • Are 1.5 times less likely to get infected with COVID-19 than people who only received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. 

    • Are 2.4 times less likely to get infected with COVID-19 than people who haven’t been vaccinated at all. 

    • Are 5.3 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who only received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. 

    • Are 17.3 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who haven’t been vaccinated at all.

 

Is it safe to get follow-up doses?

Yes. Data from CDC shows follow-up doses are safe. The side effects of follow-up doses are about the same as the side effects of the primary vaccine doses.

 

Where can I get a follow-up dose?

You can get a follow-up dose at any vaccine provider. No ID, insurance, or proof of medical history is required. All doses of the vaccine are free.

Additional primary doses for immunocompromised people

Who should get an additional primary dose?

You should get an additional primary dose of Pfizer or Moderna if:

  • You have a moderately to severely weakened immune system and received either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for your first two doses. Your additional primary dose should be the same vaccine product as the first two doses, but either mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine is fine if you can’t get the same kind. If you are 12 to 17 years old, your additional primary dose must be Pfizer. Children 5 through 11 years of age who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who have been diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise, are authorized to receive a third primary dose of Pfizer vaccine to receive the maximum potential benefit from vaccination.

 

I am immunocompromised and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for my first dose. Can I get an additional primary dose?
  • If you are immunocompromised and it has been at least four weeks since you first received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should receive a second (additional) dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

 

When should I get an additional primary dose?
  • You should receive an additional primary dose at least 28 days after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

 

Why do I need an additional primary dose?
  • The additional primary dose makes sure you have enough protection against COVID-19. Studies show that some people who have a weakened immune system don’t build enough protection after receiving two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

 

Where can I get an additional primary dose?
  • You can get an additional primary dose at any vaccine provider. No ID, insurance, or proof of medical history is required. Additional doses are free. You may self-report having a high risk condition to vaccine providers, but doing so is not required.

Frequently asked questions

  • This includes but is not limited to people 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 two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system. 

    • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome). 

    • Advanced or untreated HIV infection. 

    • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

  • Talk with a health care provider about your medical condition and whether getting an additional dose makes sense for you, but it’s not required to have a conversation with your provider before getting an additional dose.

  • Coloradans looking to get an additional dose may self-attest that they are eligible. You do not need to provide your medical history to receive an additional dose.

  •  
  • It depends on which vaccine you first received. 
  • If you first got Pfizer or Moderna, you should receive at least four doses. You should schedule your fourth dose at least three months after your third.
  • If you first got Johnson & Johnson, you should receive three doses. You should schedule your second dose 28 days after your first dose. You should schedule your third dose at least three months after your second dose. Your second and third doses should be Pfizer or Moderna.
  • Some immunocompromised people who originally got Pfizer or Moderna may benefit from also getting a fifth dose four months after their fourth dose. Talking with a health care provider can help you learn more about whether it’s best for you to get a fifth dose. However, talking with a health care provider before getting your fifth dose is not required.
  •  
  • Right now, CDC's definition of “fully vaccinated” is still the same. If an event or venue is checking your vaccination status, you are considered fully vaccinated if more than two weeks have passed since your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or your single dose of J&J vaccine.

  • We strongly recommend getting all recommended follow-up doses for the highest level of protection.

  • No. You do not need to be a full-time resident of Colorado, or of a particular Colorado county, to be vaccinated.

  • Vaccines must be proven to be safe and effective before they are given to people. The COVID-19 vaccines are no different. These vaccines are being proven safe every day, as millions of Coloradans have already taken them. Nationwide, many millions of people have also received the vaccine.

  • The FDA requires that vaccines undergo a rigorous scientific process, including three phases of clinical trials, before they authorize or approve the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines are subject to the same safety standards as other vaccine trials.

  • You may experience mild to moderate side effects after receiving the vaccine. Side effects are about the same for the first, second, and third doses of the vaccines. Side effects typically go away on their own after a few days. The most commonly reported side effects are: 

    • Pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site.

    • Pain, tenderness, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection.

    • Fatigue.

    • Headache.

    • Muscle pain.

    • Chills.

    • Joint pain.

    • Nausea/vomiting.

    • Fever.

  • Different people may experience different side effects, even if they receive the same vaccine. 

  • The process of building immunity can cause symptoms. These symptoms are normal and show that your body’s immune system is responding to a vaccine. Other routine vaccines, like the flu vaccine, have similar side effects.

  • If you experience discomfort after the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, it is very important that you still receive the second dose a few weeks later for the highest level of protection.

  • For in-depth information about the side effects of the vaccines, see the CDC’s report on Pfizer vaccine, Moderna vaccine, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. 

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please call:

1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926)
Available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.;
Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT.
Answers available in multiple languages.

The call center will be closed on Nov. 25, Dec. 25, and Jan. 1 for the holidays.