(NEXSTAR) – If you haven’t gotten your booster shot yet, you may no longer be considered fully vaccinated as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prepares to “pivot the language.”
Since the COVID-19 vaccines became available, many health officials have been focused on getting all Americans to be fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you complete your primary series (meaning you’ve received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine), according to the current CDC guidelines.
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As booster shots became available, many wondered whether the definition of fully vaccinated would change. In early January, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said it wouldn’t.
Two weeks later, the CDC appears to be changing its mind. During a Friday press briefing, Walensky said the agency is working to “pivot the language” for being fully vaccinated. She explained that the goal is to ensure Americans are caught up on their vaccines.
“We really want to make sure people are up to date. That means if you recently got your second dose, you’re not eligible for a booster, you’re up to date,” Walensky said. “If you are eligible for a booster and you haven’t gotten it, you’re not up to date and you need to get your booster in order to be up to date.”
The CDC recently released data showing lower case rates among those who have completed their primary series compared to those who are unvaccinated. The data also found “significantly lower case and death rates” among those who have received their booster dose compared to unvaccinated individuals.
According to the CDC, roughly 75% of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. About 63% are fully vaccinated and less than 40% of those eligible have received their booster dose.
If you are 18-years-old or older, the CDC says you are eligible to receive the Pfizer or Moderna booster shot. Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 who have finished their primary series are only able to get the Pfizer booster.
Which vaccine you received for the primary series affects how soon you can get a booster shot. For those who received Pfizer, you’re eligible for a booster at least five months after completing your two-dose series. For those who received Moderna, you must wait at least six months to receive a booster. If you received Johnson & Johnson, you should get a booster shot after two months.