Build Confidence in COVID-19 Boosters

COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy extends to recommended booster shots. People who completed a primary vaccination series may doubt the need for booster doses or question the efficacy of boosters, especially in light of confusing or conflicting media coverage. Some people no longer see COVID-19 as a threat or have grown weary of preventive measures, a phenomenon known as “pandemic fatigue.” Others balk at the prospect of repeated vaccination.

People ages 5 years and older are recommended to receive one bivalent mRNA booster dose after completing any monovalent primary series or previously receiving monovalent booster dose(s) as approved or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines continue to evolve. This booster recommendation replaces all prior booster recommendations for this age group. Monovalent mRNA vaccines are no longer authorized as a booster dose for people 5 years of age and older.

A monovalent Novavax booster dose (instead of a bivalent mRNA booster dose) may be used in limited situations in people ages 18 years and older who completed any FDA-approved or FDA-authorized monovalent primary series, have not received any previous booster dose(s), and are unable (i.e., contraindicated or not available) or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine and would otherwise not receive a booster dose.

Key Points

  • It is normal for the protection provided by a vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, to decrease over time. This is not a sign that the vaccines don’t work.
  • COVID-19 vaccine boosters can further enhance or restore protection against COVID-19 that may have decreased over time.
  • COVID-19 vaccine boosters are essential for protecting against serious COVID-19 disease, including severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
  • People are best protected from severe COVID-19 disease when they stay up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including getting all recommended boosters.
  • Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines is crucial as new boosters are developed to improve protection against emerging virus variants.

Information for Pharmacy Teams

Utilize APhA’s conversation guide for Addressing Concerns About COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters and Concerns About COVID-19 Breakthrough Infections. This resource can be used as a playbook to effectively talk with patients and address their specific concerns.
Read CDC’s Interim Clinical Considerations for the most up-to-date recommendations for the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
Check out APhA’s quick tip video to hear a pharmacist answer the question: How can pharmacists discuss the potential need for booster doses?
Take APhA’s short quiz COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots to test your knowledge about eligibility to receive booster shots, safety data, and dosing.
Watch APhA’s open forum webinar on The Latest Recommendations for COVID-19 and Influenza Vaccinations to review the latest recommendations for COVID-19 bivalent boosters, how to implement programs for COVID-19 and influenza vaccination, and messaging you can use in practice to build vaccine confidence and uptake.
Participate in APhA’s Trigger Tape Training, which reviews key points to communicate with patients by providing patient scenarios and the recommended response to each one.
Watch APhA’s open forum webinar on COVID-19 Vaccines: A Review of Recent Updates to learn about the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.
Read Community Pharmacist Counters Misinformation With His Own Arabic-Language Podcast for a pharmacist success story in which Hashim Zaibak, PharmD, tackles patient concerns about booster doses.
Watch CDC’s webinar on Recommendations for Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Doses to review the current recommendations for bivalent vaccine booster doses.
Visit CDC’s ACIP Evidence to Recommendations (EtR) for Use of Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses Under an Emergency Use Authorization to review the evidence that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has used to make the current recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses.
Understand the issues and concerns associated with COVID-19 vaccine boosters among both patients and professionals:

Information for Patients

Review CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines (Boosters) with patients to answer commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
Share Answers to Tough Questions About Public Health with patients to help build their confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine boosters.