When are the experts planning to get theirs?

The FDA and CDC in late March allowed three groups of people to get a second booster shot against COVID-19 if it’s been at least four months since their first booster: people 50 and older, those 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their initial shot and booster.

For most Americans, who got two mRNA shots as their primary vaccine series and then a booster, this would be their fourth shot. For people who are immunocompromised who got three shots as their primary series and then a booster, it would be their fifth shot.

But, in a sign of pandemic decision-making shifting from government policy to personal choice, federal health officials were less prescriptive and forceful in their language about second boosters than they were about the previous shots. This time around, they’ve said eligible people “can” get their second booster — but stopped short of saying they “should” get them right away.

This has left many Americans, seeing that cases are relatively low — though now ticking up, including in the Bay Area — wondering whether they should strategically time their second booster before a trip or other higher-risk situation. Some are contemplating whether to put it off until the fall, when infection rates may be higher or when there could be a vaccine that is longer-lasting, or is better tailored to the circulating variant at that time.

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