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  • Writer's pictureRob Swanda, PhD

US Covid-19 Booster Eligibility Expanded

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

November 19, 2021

Words & Video by Dr. Rob Swanda

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today (November 19, 2021) announced updated eligibility for Covid-19 mRNA type booster doses for those individuals who received the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna initial vaccine series (Figure 1).

Eligibility has now expanded to these people aged 18 years or older in the United States, where 6 months has passed since their second Covid-19 mRNA vaccine dose was administered. No other criteria or new eligibility criteria apply. Those who received an initial vaccination with Johnson & Johnson who are 18 years or older remain eligible for a booster dose 2 months following full vaccination. In the United States, those eligible can continue to choose which type or brand of booster they would like to receive.

Figure 1: US Covid-19 Booster Eligibility as of 11.19.2021
Figure 1: US Covid-19 Booster Eligibility as of 11.19.2021

Some countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom are deliberating whether to follow Israel’s lead in changing the definition of ‘fully vaccinated’’ to include a booster dose. In Israel, where boosters have been administered to more than 40% of the population (equating to two-thirds of the vaccinated) there has been a dramatic decrease in Covid-19 diagnoses, hospitalizations, patients requiring ICU admissions, and deaths (Figure 2). However, almost 40% of Israel’s population remain unvaccinated, and while the data is still emerging, it does showcase that booster doses are safe, effective, and beneficial for the individual and their wider communities.

Figure 2: Comparison: US & Israel Confirmed Covid-19 cases, deaths, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU per million people
Figure 2: Comparison: United States & Israel Confirmed Covid-19 cases, deaths, hospital admissions, and patients in the ICU per million people

Video: COVID-19 Booster Shots & Mixing Vaccines

Questioning which booster makes sense to you in order to provide you the most protection is common. There are numerous factors to consider including personal choice, vaccine availability, medical history, and expert medical advice. If you are concerned about vaccine side effects then you may decide to stick with the original manufacturer of your initial dose. For example, if you had no side effects after initially receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, then you may decide to continue with Pfizer/BioNTech as you are more familiar with how your body could react.

Be sure to discuss your circumstances, medical history and any questions or concerns you may have with your physician(s) and/or medical specialists prior to any vaccination or booster dose. This will allow you to consider their expert input and advice as well as your own unique circumstances in your decision making.

Data sources:

Elgot, J. (2021, 11 15). No 10 plans booster jab requirement for people to obtain Covid pass. Retrieved from The Guardian:

Ellis, R. (2021, 09 03). Fauci Foresees ‘Full Vaccination’ Including Booster Shots. Retrieved from WebMD:

Kershner, I. (2021, 10 03). Israel Will Require a Booster Shot to be Fully Vaccinated. Retrieved from New York Times:

Kozlov, M. (2021, 09 16). COVID-vaccine booster shot shows promise in Israeli study. Retrieved from nature:

Krämer, T. (2021, 11 11). Israel's bet on early COVID booster shots pays off. Retrieved from Deutsche Welle (DW):

Our World In Data. (2021, 11 18). Confirmed Covid-19 cases, deaths, hospital admissions, and patients in ICU per million people (USA & ISR).

U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2021, 11 19). Press Announcements. Retrieved from U.S. Food & Drug Administration:


Author: Rob Swanda, PhD of

Title: US Covid-19 Booster Eligibility Expanded

Date first published: 19 November 2021


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