Which COVID-19 booster shot you should get? Health experts explain

CHARLOTTE — Many wonder if it’s OK to get a booster shot for COVID-19 that does not match the initial vaccine they were given.

Channel 9 reporter Glenn Counts asked experts about what people should do when getting the booster shot.

StarMed shot administer Chris Dobbins got the COVID-19 booster shot on Tuesday and decided to mix and match brands. Dobbins originally got the Pfizer vaccine, then got Moderna as a booster.

He is a strong believer in the concept.

“So when you get a different type of vaccine -- flu is a good example, or shingles,” said Dobbins, StarMed chief for relations and response. “When you get the different type, you’re basically teaching your body a different way to fight the same virus.”

[BOOSTER BREAKDOWN: When, where can you get a shot in North Carolina?]

Dr. Christopher Ohl is an infectious disease specialist with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He said some people should get a booster shot.

“The first thing you have to decide, ‘Do you need a booster?’” he said. “Needing, meaning, ‘Let’s go get it.’”

Ohl said you should get a booster shot if you:

  • Are over 65 years old.
  • Are between the ages of 50 and 65 with an underlying medical condition.
  • Are at any age with a serious underlying medical condition.
  • Are in a congregate setting.

Ohl said you should definitely get another type of booster if you originally got the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine.

“Then you should get either a Pfizer or Moderna messenger RNA vaccine,” Ohl said. “Because we have plenty of data that the immune response from doing it that way is much greater than getting a second dose of Johnson & Johnson.”

[CDC recommends boosters for all three vaccines]

What about if you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine the first time around? Is it OK to switch those for a different booster?

“That’s good enough too,” Ohl said. “It probably doesn’t matter that much.”

So if your provider is out of your initial vaccine and you are offered another choice, it’s not a problem to say yes.

“There is no ... right or wrong with a booster,” Dobbins said. “If you’re eligible, please get your booster.”

(Watch the video below: When, where can you get a shot in North Carolina?)