UCI Forward

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New guidance on COVID-19 vaccine boosters and third doses

Section 1

October 4, 2021

Many members of our community may be eligible for a booster vaccine under new guidance from the CDC, which recommends boosters for people who received the Pfizer vaccine more than six months ago and work in healthcare or education settings.

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for booster

The guidance regarding the Pfizer vaccine booster dose applies to certain high-risk populations who meet the below conditions:

  • The recipient must have had the Pfizer-BioNTech as their primary initial vaccine series.

  • It must be administered at least six months after completing the primary two-dose series.

  • The recipient must be 65 years or older OR 18 years or older and work in settings such as education or healthcare or have underlying medical conditions. Please see the CDC guidance for additional detail.

At this time, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) have not been approved for a booster dose

Third doses for those with compromised immune systems

Both Moderna and Pfizer are authorized for a third dose for those with compromised immune systems. People who received the Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine and have compromised immune systems should receive a third dose of vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose.

What is the difference between a booster and a third dose?

A booster dose is an additional shot needed after the protection of the initial dose or doses has lessened over time.

A third dose, on the other hand, refers to completing the original vaccine series if you're immunocompromised, which means you need three shots to be fully vaccinated. 

The University of California recommends boosters and third doses for those who are eligible. Vaccine is widely available from healthcare providers, clinics and pharmacies. At this time, the UCI campus is not organizing employee vaccine clinics at the Bren Events Center; however, UCI Health patients who are eligible can receive vaccine booster doses from UCI Health clinics, including Gottschalk Plaza. Log into MyChart for additional information.  

Front-line healthcare professionals and medical center employees should follow the guidance issued by UCI Health. 

If you have questions about the vaccine, please contact UCI's Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services team. The team is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer questions and help individuals find vaccine appointments at 949-824-2300 or contacttracing@uci.edu.

UCI is not yet collecting verification of third doses or boosters, but information on that process will be shared when it becomes available. For the latest COVID-19 information, please continue to visit the UCI Forward website at uci.edu/coronavirus/.


David Souleles, MPH

Director, COVID-19 Response Team