All adults are now eligible to get a COVID-19 booster shot, and leaders in the Washington, D.C. area are encouraging people to add that extra layer of protection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration on Friday signed off on the extra shot for everyone over the age of 18.
Dr. Kavita Patel, a D.C. doctor and NBC News contributor said the timing is good with holiday gatherings coming up — the booster quickly gives extra protection.
"Boosters will make a difference — especially considering that boosters' effectiveness occurs immediately,” Patel said. “That is important as people start to travel next week for the holidays."
COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against the virus, especially against severe disease and hospitalization. The level of protection from mild and moderate disease can decrease over time, the CDC says.
Boosters are available for free. You may be asked to submit health insurance information, but you can get the shot for free regardless of insurance status.
Where can I get a booster shot in D.C., Maryland and Virginia?
You can check for booster availability at your doctor’s offices or health care provider, plus clinics offered by health departments.
Pharmacies in the D.C. area are offering boosters, including major chains:
- Giant Pharmacy
- Harris Teeter
- Safeway Pharmacy
- Rite Aid
- Wegmans (in Maryland)
- Weis Market
Who should get a booster shot?
Adults over 18 who’s been vaccinated for a certain period is now eligible.
Anyone who got the Johnson & Johnson shot should get a booster two months after becoming fully vaccinated, the CDC says.
Anyone who got an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna can get a booster six months after becoming fully vaccinated, the CDC says.
A CDC panel encourages anyone over age 50 to get their booster shot as soon as possible.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Montgomery County health officials are among those encouraging all adults to get the booster, saying it’s the strongest protection against COVID-19.
Which booster should I get?
Anyone can get any booster shot, including one from a brand different than your original shot. It's often called mix-and-matching; here's more information.