• COVID-19

    Confused about when to get your second COVID-19 booster vaccination? Mayo Clinic expert answers common questions

closeup of a medical person wearing gloves holding a COVID-19 vaccine syringe

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded eligibility for a second COVID-19 booster to adults 50 and older, as well as people 12 and older who are immunosuppressed. Booster vaccinations are safe and increase protection from COVID-19, especially for those who are immunosuppressed and those who are older with underlying conditions.

Even with this new guidance, those eligible may be wondering when it's best for them to receive their second booster vaccination or if they should get it at all.

Dr. Gregory Poland, head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, calls this a permissive recommendation done in the interest of trying to get ahead of the next surge or increase in cases.

Watch: Dr. Gregory Poland answers questions about COVID-19 boosters.

Journalists: Soundbites are in the downloads at the end of the post: Please courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network "Gregory Poland, M.D./Infectious Diseases/Mayo Clinic."

"The recommendation about the booster is based on the concern of another surge; evidence of the beginning of surges around the world; and the characteristics of the BA.2 variant, which it is another 30% to 50% more transmissible than omicron was."

He says the benefit of a booster is measurable but short-lived, which may have some wondering when the best time to get one is.

"That's where my recommendation would be that people who are fit into the age group (50 and older) or to the category to get a booster (12 and older and immunosuppressed) talk with their health care provider to understand their situation," says Dr. Poland.

When it comes to other protective measures, such as masking, Dr. Poland says widespread masking still makes sense scientifically and medically. "What would be my best evidence? A year ago, when we pretty much all wore masks for the first time in human history, we saw no influenza," says Dr. Poland.

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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.