WASHINGTON - Six months after COVID-19 vaccines started to become widely available, many are starting to wonder when they should get a booster.
Barry Thomas lives in Takoma Park, and says he's gotten his.
"Got it last week. Why? Because I want to be protected from the disease," Thomas said.
"Everybody I know who's eligible has gotten a booster," said Stanley Reed, 70.
There's been some confusion surrounding boosters, though. In September, President Joe Biden said the plan was for anyone who wanted to get a booster to be able to do so 8 months after their latest dose.
That's still possible, but it's not the CDC's current recommendation.
"The public has a hard time understanding if they will benefit from a booster, when they should get a booster. It is definitely confusing," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert.
Here's where things stand:
If you got a Johnson and Johnson vaccine, you are eligible for a booster after 2 months and only have to be 18 or older.
If you got the Pfizer or Moderna dose, the rules are a bit more stringent.
You're eligible six months after your second dose if:
-You're 65 or older
- 18 or older with underlying conditions
- 18 or older who lives or works in a high-risk setting
Some high risk jobs include health care workers, first responders, education staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections to name a few.
Dr. Adalja says those who are most in need of a booster, like those listed above, stand to benefit more from getting another dose than those who are healthy and not covered by the CDC recommendation at this time.
"For the average healthy person, including for someone like me, I think boosters provide a marginal benefit. Boosters are really about preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death," Adalja said.
As for which booster to get, Adalja recommends getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster if you got a Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Mixing vaccine boosters was approved a couple weeks ago.
If you got a Pfizer or Moderna shot, Adalja says the data shows switching doesn't give an added benefit.
Adalja says this is still being studied.