Boosting boosters

A Message from the COVID-19 Coordinator


  • Following Safer Yale Practices
  • News about second boosters

This week, we welcomed many members of our community back to campus after spring break travel. We are looking forward to celebratory events in the coming weeks that mark the end of the semester. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) community level in New Haven County remains low, new COVID-19 infections continue to occur. Therefore, we should all remain aware of measures that we can take to reduce our risk of becoming infected or infecting others so that we can continue to engage in the activities we enjoy. This means being up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, testing when required and if symptoms arise, and following Safer Yale Practices in all campus settings. 

Do I need to boost my booster?

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of additional booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines for certain individuals. The CDC followed the FDA’s announcement by updating its guidance to allow those individuals to receive a second booster with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

More specifically, the FDA authorization and CDC guidance allow for a second booster of:

  • Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for individuals 50 years of age and older who are at least four months from their first booster of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine;
  • Pfizer vaccine for individuals 12 years of age and older with certain immunocompromising conditions who are at least four months from their first booster; and
  • Moderna vaccine for individuals 18 years and older with certain immunocompromising conditions who are at least four months from their first booster.

Additional CDC guidance, based on newly published data, allows any adult who received a primary and booster dose of Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine at least four months ago to receive a second booster of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna.    

These recent FDA and CDC announcements are based on emerging data suggesting that a second booster of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may increase protection for higher-risk individuals. In allowing these additional boosters, the agencies are balancing the low risk of adverse effects from the vaccines with concerns about a possible future surge in the pandemic. That said, both agencies strongly reinforce the effectiveness of a primary vaccine series and a single booster in preventing serious COVID-19 illness and hospitalization. Moreover, the CDC still considers an individual “up to date” with COVID-19 vaccination after receiving a primary series and one booster, if eligible.

More information about additional boosters is expected in the very near future, including from the FDA vaccine advisory committee’s review, scheduled for April 6. In the meantime, the decision to receive a second booster should be based on your assessment of your risks of serious COVID-19 illness and your risks of becoming infected. It may be helpful to consult with your primary health care provider when making this decision.

Remember that you can schedule a first booster, as well as a primary vaccine series, through the Yale COVID-19 Program or at one of many sites throughout Connecticut. You can schedule a second booster through the Yale COVID-19 Program by calling the Campus COVID Resource Line (CCRL) at 203-432-6604.

As we look forward to a season of celebrations, we should take this opportunity to reflect on the ways that we have come together as a community during challenging times. I remain deeply grateful for your unflagging efforts to keep our campus as safe as possible.

Stephanie S. Spangler, M.D.
Vice Provost for Health Affairs and Academic Integrity
Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University COVID-19 Coordinator