May 19, 2022

5 things to know about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters

During the omicron surge, Kaiser Permanente members who were vaccinated but not boosted were twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who were boosted.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all people age 5 and older.

Vaccines and the boosters are a critical part of slowing, and eventually stopping, the spread of COVID-19, and Kaiser Permanente is committed to providing you with vaccine information as it’s available.

Here are the latest 5 things you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines and the boosters.

  1. Boosters protect against severe illness. We know the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are effective at preventing people from getting severely sick. In fact, during the omicron surge, Kaiser Permanente members who were vaccinated but had not received a booster were twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who were vaccinated and boosted.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Permanente recommend that everyone age 12 and older get a booster dose. Find out which booster is right for you.

  2. Initial vaccination

    Who can get the booster?

    When are you eligible?

    Which booster?


    Anyone 12 or older

    5 months after initial 2-dose series

    For people age 12 to 17, only Pfizer. People 18 or older can get Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson*


    Anyone 18 or older

    5 months after initial 2-dose series

    Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson*

    Johnson & Johnson

    Anyone 18 or older

    2 months after first dose

    Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson*

    *People 18 or older should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and that this risk has not been seen with the 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna). For more information, visit the CDC vaccine page.

    The Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have also defined the population of people who may choose to get a second booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, including people age 50 and older, people age 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, and people age 18 to 49 who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as both their primary dose and first booster dose. Members should check for availability and appointments in their area.

  3. Kids OK’d for the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is available to all people age 5 and older. The Pfizer vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age is administered as a 2-dose primary series, given 21 days apart. It comes as a lower dose (10 micrograms instead of 30 micrograms) and is given with a smaller needle than what’s used for individuals 12 years of age and older. The appropriate dose is determined by your child’s age at the time of the dose, regardless of the child’s weight or age at the time of a prior dose.

  4. Masks remain important in high-risk settings. Regardless of your vaccination status, the CDC recommends continued mask use in communities where serious cases of COVID-19 are straining the health system. You should also still wear a mask if you are personally at high risk, when you are with people at higher risk for severe illness, or if you wish to be cautious. And regardless of local conditions, you should wear a mask if you have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Visit the CDC website to learn about the latest guidance for your community.

  5. You should get vaccinated and boosted if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Getting vaccinated and boosted while pregnant can provide important protection for you and your unborn baby. The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future. Additionally, there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

  6. Vaccines for kids under 5 in the works: Children age 6 months through 4 years may soon become eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Once eligible, they will receive a vaccine that is different from the one given to children age 5 through 11, and adolescents and adults.

Kaiser Permanente encourages people who have not been vaccinated to receive their primary COVID-19 vaccination series as well as the flu shot. In addition, even after being fully vaccinated, anyone with symptoms of illness should get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible and isolate at home.

Stay informed

Visit for the latest information and to schedule a vaccination appointment. Kaiser Permanente members can also download the app for convenient access to information.