On Feb. 22, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines to increase the wait time between the first and second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for some people.
The full CDC guidance can be found here.
CDC wait time update
People 12 years of age and older are now recommended to wait eight weeks after their first dose of the vaccine to receive their second dose. This increased wait time may be particularly beneficial for males ages 12-39 years old.
NOTE: See below for guidelines for immunocompromised individuals.
Why are they changing the timing?
The CDC updated their guidelines to eight weeks because research has shown that the vaccine may be slightly more effective when the doses are spread out further. Increasing the timing to eight weeks may also benefit males between 12-39 years of age as there may be some decrease in risk for the already rare myocarditis.
What if your child was vaccinated before the eight-week change?
With this update, parents have questions. My child got their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within three weeks of the first dose, as it was recommended by CDC at the time. Is my child still protected from COVID-19 now that the recommendation is eight weeks between the first and second dose? Should my child get a booster dose? We’re here to help.
Children who were vaccinated on the original timeline of three weeks between doses are still considered fully vaccinated. While there may be some benefit to spacing the doses out further, it was too risky to leave children unprotected during the COVID-19 surge periods. As the eight week interval applies to people ages 12 years and older, we encourage your child to get a booster dose five months after their second dose to ensure they maintain full protection.
The extension to an eight week interval serves a few benefits:
- It may provide a marginal increase in already excellent protection against COVID-19 disease.
- It may reduce the already very rare risk for heart muscle issues, especially in males ages 12-39.
- It may make scheduling appointments easier at clinics giving extra time between visits.
No change in timing for the following people:
Some groups are still advised to wait the shorter interval (three weeks for Pfizer/Comirnaty) between doses. These groups are:
- Individuals that are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
- Adults ages 65 years or older.
- Others who need more rapid protection due to increased concern of community transmission or risk of disease.
Immunocompromised people’s third dose
A third primary dose for immunocompromised people is still recommended at least 28 days (four weeks) after their second dose.
Booster doses are still advised for all individuals. However, there have been some small timing changes to those too.
- For the general public, a third booster dose is recommended at least five months after the second dose.
- For immunocompromised people, a booster dose (fourth dose overall) is recommended at least three months after their third dose.
As of November 2021, the CDC approved the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 years and older.
And, as of January 2022, kids ages 12 years and older can get a single booster dose.
Children’s Minnesota encourages families to get their eligible children vaccinated as soon as they can at the vaccination site nearest to them. If you have any questions or concerns about COVID vaccination, we encourage you to talk with your primary care provider.
Also, continue to check the Children’s Minnesota website to learn about COVID-19 vaccine safety and more.
There are many options available to get vaccinated:
- Contact your primary care clinic.
- Search the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Vaccine Connector for kids. You can type in your zip code to find where you can get vaccinated close to your home.
- Check with the pharmacies in your community.
- Keep checking the Children’s Minnesota website to learn more at org/covid19.