June 29, 2022

COVID-19: The latest information

Getting a booster dose helps protect you and your loved ones against severe illness, slows the spread of the coronavirus, and helps prevent new variants.

It’s important to remain aware of the risk that coronavirus infection still plays in our communities, especially for people who are not yet vaccinated. In the United States, the number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 86 million with more than 1 million fatalities.

While widespread vaccination and new treatments have eased some concerns about COVID-19, it’s still important to understand how you can protect yourself and others when traveling or gathering this summer. And one of the main ways is to get vaccinated. Vaccines are now available and recommended for all people 6 months and older.

“We continue to strongly urge vaccination for people who have delayed it — including for children — and boosters for all who are eligible,” said Kaiser Permanente national infectious disease leader Paul Thottingal, MD. “Vaccination is essential to preventing serious illness and hospitalization — and to putting the pandemic behind us.”

Who can get a booster and when should they get it?

While the vaccine is still working well to prevent severe illness, recent data suggests vaccination becomes less effective over time at preventing asymptomatic infection or mild illness. In fact, during the peak of 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 proven effectiveness of boosters is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 5 and older get a booster dose.

Initial vaccination

Who can get the booster?

When are you eligible?

Which booster?

Pfizer

Anyone 5 or older

5 months after initial 2-dose series

For people age 5 to 17, only Pfizer; People 18 or older can get Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J*

Moderna

Anyone 18 or older

5 months after initial 2-dose series

Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J*

J&J

Anyone 18 or older

2 months after first dose

Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J*

*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 CDC has also issued recommendations on who should get a second booster dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The recommendations include the following groups who received their first booster dose at least 4 months ago:

  • People 50 and older
  • People 12 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised
  • Anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for both their primary dose and booster and people age 50 and older who first received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of what type of booster they received

For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccines and how to find an appointment in your area, visit kp.org/covidvaccine.

Even if you get a booster shot, the CDC recommends continued mask use in public indoor spaces in communities where the COVID-19 community level is high. You should also still wear a mask if you wish to be cautious, if you are personally at high risk, or when you are with people at higher risk for severe illness. It’s important to note that masks may also be required by federal, state, and local rules and regulations — including local business, school district, and workplace guidance. This includes high-risk areas such as health care settings and public transportation, and activities such as travel. Although wearing a mask is no longer required in many places, everyone, including those who are up to date with their vaccinations, should continue to take steps to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.

Kaiser Permanente’s response

“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our staff members, who have worked long, difficult hours in challenging conditions since the start of this pandemic,” said Dr. Thottingal. “We also deeply appreciate our members who have practiced medically proven behaviors over that time — masking, distancing, and hand sanitizing — and who have served as examples to others in the communities we serve.”

We’re grateful to the countless individuals, teams, and organizations that united around a shared focus and made changes to keep everyone safe. Some of these changes included introducing and expanding innovative care solutions that continue to make it easier and more convenient to get care.

Telehealth use increased quickly in early 2020 and has remained higher than pre-pandemic levels, even as we’ve returned to in-person care. In a recent survey, 85% of respondents said they’re likely to select telehealth for their next primary care appointment.

We can all play a part in ending this pandemic and keeping ourselves, our families, and our communities healthy.

  • Everyone 6 months and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine, including a booster shot when eligible, especially if you’re planning to travel or gather with friends and family.
  • Comply with public health orders — including wearing a mask where it’s required.
  • Continue practicing healthy habits such as getting plenty of rest, eating healthy foods, exercising, and managing your stress.