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Learn the Most Recent Age Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters

Image of A man fist bumps a child. Samuel Thomas, age 4, gets his COVID-19 vaccination on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, becoming the first child under 5 to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at Naval Health Clinic Patuxent River. (Photo: Kathy Hieatt, U.S. Navy)

The COVID-19 virus hasn’t gone away. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), viruses like COVID-19 constantly change through mutation. Sometimes these mutations result in a new variant of the virus, such as the Omicron variant. And new variants will continue to emerge. Slowing the spread of the virus can help slow the emergence of new variants. The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to get your vaccines and booster shots.

“Getting vaccinated and boosted is the most effective way to reduce your risk of becoming severely ill, if you get COVID-19,” said Dr. David Loran, a nurse practitioner with the Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division at Naval Medical Center San Diego. “We encourage all TRICARE beneficiaries who are eligible to get vaccinated and stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.”

It’s important to keep up with the new vaccine and booster eligibilities for you and your family. More children are now eligible for booster shots to keep up their resistance to the virus. Let’s look at the most recent updates for various age groups.

Age 6 months–4 years

In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months. Children get a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults. This dosage depends on the child’s age on the day of vaccination, not on their size and weight.

Age 5–17 years

The CDC now recommends children ages 5 and up get one booster dose after completing their COVID-19 vaccine primary series, if eligible. Children and teens ages 5 to 17 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised are at increased risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and may need additional primary shots and booster doses. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and dosage for children and teens.

Adults (ages 18 and up)

All adults age 18 or older who received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen primary series can get a first booster. The CDC recommends a second booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least four months after the first booster for:

  • Adults ages 50 years and older
  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised

It’s never too late to get the added protection offered by COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. Even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, the CDC recommends you still get the vaccine. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re eligible for a booster, the CDC website now has a booster tool to help you learn when you or your child qualify, based on age and health status.

Remember, the COVID-19 vaccine is free, both for the primary series and booster shots. But if you aren’t on active duty, you may have a cost for an office visit when seeing a civilian provider. Keep in mind, you may also have costs if you need follow-on care. Military hospitals and clinics, civilian providers, and pharmacies are all options for where you can get the vaccine or booster. The CDC website also lists several ways for finding vaccination providers near you.

Along with vaccination, there are other safety measures to reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19. The CDC continues to recommend masking, physical distancing, washing hands often, and other precautions. Remember, testing is also very important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. You can choose from many different types of tests.

Have more questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccines or booster shots? Talk to your health care provider or local pharmacist. The TRICARE website has information and resources available, including a COVID-19 FAQs section.

At the time of posting, this information is current. Visit www.cdc.gov or www.tricare.mil/coronavirus for the most current COVID-19 information.

Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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