My Experience Getting A Third Vaccine Or “Booster” Shot

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Experience Getting A Third Covid Vaccine

My Experience Getting A Third Covid Vaccine, Or Booster Shot

I was one of the first people to get my booster shot so I figured I would share my experience doing it.  While sharing my experience getting a third covid vaccine, or “booster” shot, I will also discuss who is currently eligible, why it may make sense to get one and the process of getting one. With more and more countries requiring a proof of vaccination for entry, and some setting a vaccination expiry date to the requirements, I thought this info would be useful.

RELATED: How To Visit Canada (It’s Open To Vaccinated Americans!) – My Experience

Why Is A Covid Booster Needed?

I should say that I am not an expert in this field by any means, I am simply sharing what I have read. It is being recommended that anyone who has been vaccinated to consider a third covid vaccine, or booster shot, in countries that have been pretty heavily vaccinated.

Countries like Israel, that had a very successful vaccine rollout, have noticed that people that were vaccinated early one have antibodies at levels much lower now. This has led to more fully vaccinated breakthrough cases and those breakthrough cases to having worse symptoms than before. And with the Delta variant running buck wild throughout the world we are seeing more and more cases from fully vaccinated people overall.  This has led to some countries suggesting a booster, or third vaccine shot, for their more susceptible citizens. The initial results from these shots were good and the third vaccine has shown improved immunity.

Experience Getting A Third Covid Vaccine

Who Is Currently Eligible For A Third Covid Vaccine Shot?

The United States government has come to the same conclusion and has decided to move forward with the booster shots as well.  It will be rolled out in waves, similar to the first round of vaccines.  While looks like a third shot will be opened to anyone 8 months from their 2nd shot in the near future, it is currently open to anyone who is immunocompromised.

I should say that for the time being anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not suggested to get a booster shot. It sounds like more testing is being done before they make a recommendation for that vaccine.

The CDC says people with the following conditions are eligible, and should take, a third dose :
  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

This is similar to many states opening up access to vaccines early for people who were immunocompromised.  Although they are moved to the front of the line this time, and well before the 8 month suggestion for some.  Why is that? It is because tests have shown people that are immunocompromised show much lower levels of antibodies from the vaccines than people who are in good health.

Experience Getting A Third Covid Vaccine

My Experience Getting A Third Covid Vaccine, My Booster Shot

I take medication that weakens my immune system for a chronic illness I have.  Because of that I was eligible to get my booster shot.  When I received my first two shots I did it at a mass vaccination site inside Ford Field, where the Detroit Lions play.  Since that site was a short term vaccination option I had to find somewhere else to get my third vaccine.

While you can simply walk into most pharmacy, or county health locations, I decided to make an appointment.  I also wanted to verify which vaccine the site gave to ensure that I received the Pfizer shot.  It is recommended to get the same vaccine you received for the first two doses as your booster.  Although some have said they want to get the other one and that is their plan. The CDC said if you do not have the option to get a 3rd of the same that you can get the other (Pfizer or Moderna).

I decided to go with CVS since there is one a few blocks away from our house.  I set up the appointment online and there was the option to select getting your third booster shot.  Then it asked which brand of vaccine I needed and I selected Pfizer.  That is when it gave me different CVS locations that offered the Pfizer vaccine. After picking the site I was able to pick the day and time.  The one by my house was not an option but one a few miles away was.

Getting My Shot At CVS

I will say that the pharmacy sites are not as well run as the mass site I originally went to.  They put a little spot in the corner of the pharmacy, this CVS didn’t have the minute clinic on site, and people sitting in chairs all over the place.  I asked if I am supposed to check in or what.  One of the other people waiting for the vaccine said you should get a text to check in.  I received no such text so I asked the lady performing the shots what I should do.

She walked me over to the pharmacy area to check me in. I suspect me being there for a 3rd shot messed up their system, which isn’t surprising since it is the first week of it.  She said the system had me down for the second shot instead of third even though I selected third online.  So there may be some glitches along the way, at least early on.

After checking me in she took me over and gave me the shot.  There were quite a few walk in people too so it can be a little hectic in that small area. Be sure to give yourself some time to get through the process.  One person is doing everything, which isn’t very efficient either.

Once you get the shot you hang out for 15 minutes to make sure you have no adverse side effects. They hold onto your vaccination card until the time is up so you don’t leave early.

Were Symptoms Different On The Third Shot?

For the first two vaccines I didn’t have anything happen outside of a sore arm for a day. I had friends and family that had flu like symptoms but I got lucky I guess.

The third shot finally caught up with me.  I still had the sore arm for about 24 hours but I also had chills the first night and a headache the next morning / day.  I was pretty much down for the count for about 12 hours.  It could be just luck of the draw or maybe the body reacts more to the third shot since it knows what to do.  Because I am immunocompromised maybe the first two shots set the base and the third gets the work done. The side effects only mean that the vaccine is doing what it is supposed to do so I didn’t mind it.

My Experience Getting My Covid Booster Shot – Final Thoughts

Hopefully me sharing my experience getting my third covid vaccine helps you when it is time to get yours.  Right now it is recommended for immunocompromised people but it could be recommended for some as early as September. That would be eight months out for the earliest vaccinated people.

The process seems a little hectic now at the sites because I don’t think they were prepared for the added influx of patients.  So go in knowing that it could take a bit and realize the people working are doing the best they can.  They are currently understaffed for the amount of patients coming in with people now looking for their booster shot.  Hopefully they get it figured out before it opens up to larger groups of people.

Please keep the fighting and debate about the vaccine out of the comments. Let’s keep it to questions or comments about the process.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. My husband is a organ transplant recipient and just walked in to our neighborhood Rite Aid and they gave him the shot in very short order. He did find it curious that they told him he was all set right after the shot and didn’t say anything about waiting. He walked around the store for about 10 minutes just in case

    • The tech asked me if I had a condition that caused me to be immunocompromised. I said yes and told her what and that was it.

  2. FWIW. Currently in Italy. We took a side trip to Slovenia. The only place that didn’t accept our CDC cards (mine Pfizer, Husband’s J & J) was a pub in Padova we went to last night. The girl rather rudely said to Daughter, “what am I supposed to do with this? It has no bar code.” She tried to explain that it was US proof of vaccination.

    We weren’t allowed to eat inside, but luckily they had expansive outdoor space.

    I REALLY wish the US would adopt a vaccine passport that mirrors other countries.

  3. Thanks Mark. I’m in the same situation but haven’t scheduled yet. Did you have to have any proof or documentation from your doctor or a list of immune suppressing medications that you take?

  4. Thanks for the info. My wife and I are trying to find a way to get our third shot a month early since we’re planning a vacation in the Caribbean and this gives me at least some insight into what to expect.

  5. I wonder if you can get the shot at 7.5 months or does it have to be exactly 8 months or later? I ask because I would like to get my 3rd shot before I take off for a potential vacation.

  6. I had my third Moderna shot two days ago for the same qualifying reason as you. I had pretty a good headache the first day (a little worse than the 2nd shot) and a lot less yesterday.

    The arm was never really bad, but I could tell I’d done something. There was actually less arm stiffness than the 2nd. I’m not sure if that is effected by the quality your jabber or not.

    • FYI. I was a walk-in at a Walmart in VA rather than WV. They were closer and VA doesn’t have any residency requirement like many states. No wait at all.

  7. I originally got the Astra Zeneca covid vaccine and I was wiped out on the first shot. The second shot just gave me a dead arm and really mild symptoms. I got the Moderna shots since it didn’t look like AZN will ever get FDA approval. I was wiped out after my Moderna 1st shot and dead arm for my 2nd shot with really mild symptoms. Its probably not FDA recommended(yet), but it might be worth getting the booster as Moderna since there’s some science that Moderna may be more effective than Pfizer against the Delta variant. But with so many different research studies going on and such small samples sizes, it’s hard to know what is the truth.

    • Yeah information is all over the place and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new variant soon which who knows which one will be better for that etc. I decided to stick with the same since I didn’t have any real adverse reactions so it felt like the safest bet.

  8. Mark – can you confirm that by getting the third/booster shot at CVS – if you can see the digital vaccine certificate from CVS? I’m in a similar boat where I got my first two doses at a mass vaccination site and my state (GA) doesn’t allow for digital vaccine. I’m in EU currently and some countries are pivoting to a digital vaccine certificate requirement which means my CDC card will not be accepted. Just wanted to see if getting the booster shows that we can now get a digital vaccine certificate (which would be great for future travel needs)!

    • I did get a text that the info should be saved online if I set up a CVS MyChart account but have not done it yet.


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