Ask Miss Rona: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

Ask Miss Rona is a Q&A series started on Public Health’s Instagram to respond to community questions related to different topic areas of COVID-19. Questions come in from the public and are answered by subject matter experts at Public Health. Check out our Instagram at @kcpubhealth for more of our Miss Rona content.

If the vaccine is safe and effective why do we need a booster?

Great question. COVID-19 vaccines are still very effective at providing protection that reduces the risk of severe illness, long COVID, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19, even against the delta variant for most people.

Boosters are common for most vaccines. But, protection from the first dose(s) may start to decrease over time for some people. Getting a booster shot helps “boosts” immunity and maximizes protection the body needs to fight off the virus. Every eligible person, age 18 and older, should get a COVID-19 booster as soon as possible. It is especially important for adults age 50 and older, residents age 18 and older in long-term care settings, and other high-risk populations (due to medical conditions or high-risk exposure where they live or work) to get a COVID-19 booster as soon as they are eligible.

I got fully vaccinated in May. Do I need to wait for my turn to get the booster or can I get it right now?

Everyone 18 years and older should get a booster shot as soon as enough time has passed since their initial vaccination:

  • 6 months since receiving second dose of Pfizer or Moderna
  • 2 months since receiving one dose of Johnson & Johnson (J&J)

Visit the Getting vaccinated in King County page for location information and to schedule an appointment.

Can I request the Moderna booster because I originally got the Moderna vaccine?

Yes! You can definitely request Moderna if you originally got the Moderna series.

You can also “mix and match” if you have a preference for a different COVID-19 booster than the initial vaccine (for example, getting a Moderna booster after the J&J vaccine).

People who are eligible can get a booster shot with any available COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they received the J&J, Moderna, or Pfizer vaccine for their initial dose(s).

Is one vaccine better than the others as a booster if you got the J&J?

A study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently found that following up the J&J shot with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine could produce a stronger immune response than a second dose of J&J’s vaccine. Research from Europe has also shown similar evidence. 

Additionally, women under age 50 should understand the rare but very serious risk of clotting with the use of J&J. Talk to your vaccination provider about getting a Moderna or Pfizer booster.

If you have questions about which booster you should get, speak to your health care provider or call the COVID-19 Call Center at, 206-477-3977.

How long do I have to wait after having recovered from COVID to get the booster?

You should wait until you have recovered from COVID-19, no longer have symptoms, and are no longer in isolation: about 10 days for most people and about 20 days if you are immunocompromised.

If you are age 18 or older, have fully recovered from COVID-19, feel well, are no longer in isolation, and are eligible for the booster, you should get your booster as soon as possible.

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Why is natural immunity not part of this conversation? Seems better than boosters.

Current recommendations are that people with prior COVID-19 infection should still receive COVID-19 vaccination. This is because natural immunity, and the strength of the protection, varies significantly from person to person. Plus, it’s unclear how long protection from natural immunity lasts. So, vaccination is the safer bet, whether you’ve had COVID or not.

A recent study of COVID patients hospitalized in nine states found that people who had COVID but are not vaccinated still have five times the risk of getting COVID-19 and having serious illness.

Where can I get my booster?! I’m ready.

Booster shots are available at all King County operated vaccination sites. You can find a list of sites at Public Health’s vaccination sites at Auburn, Kent, Bellevue Eastgate, and Downtown Seattle are using a wait list for all appointments. Drop-in appointments are not available at this time. To get an appointment, please register for the waitlist at:

All King County operated vaccination sites are ADA accessible and have language and ASL interpretation available. Most sites offer drop-in vaccination, no appointment needed. Questions? Call the King County COVID-19 Call Center: 206-477-3977, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. If you need language interpretation, please say your preferred language when connected.

Boosters are also available at many local clinics, doctor’s offices, and pharmacies. You can use Washington State’s Vaccine Locator to find a vaccination site near you:

COVID-19 booster shots and vaccinations are always free of charge at all locations.

Updated on November 23, 2021