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As the holidays approach, we are all figuring out how to spend another holiday season wrangling with Covid-19. Many of us are wondering whether it is safe to gather with friends and family. As you make your plans, Covid-19 booster vaccinations and vaccinations for children may factor into your decision making. You’ve probably heard about booster shots and vaccinations for children in the news and maybe you are confused about who is eligible for what. We’re here to help demystify this topic and give you resources to make safe choices during the holidays.

 Who is Eligible for a Covid-19 Vaccine Booster?

Different categories of individuals are now eligible to receive a Covid-19 booster shot. People who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines are eligible for a booster shot six months after their second shot if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Age 18 or older who live in a long-term care setting, who have an underlying medical condition, or who live or work in a high-risk setting.

If you got the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine, you are eligible for a booster shot if you are age 18 and older and received your first shot at least two months ago.

Click here to learn more about who is eligible for a Covid-19 booster.

Why Type of Vaccine Booster Can You Get?

The latest recommendations from the CDC now allow for mixing and matching of Covid vaccine booster shots. If you are eligible for a vaccine booster, you can choose which brand of shot to receive. You may get the same type of booster shot that you initially received, or you may choose another brand of shot to get for your booster.

Click here for more information on who is eligible for a booster shot and vaccine mixing and matching:

Are Children Eligible for Covid-19 Vaccination?

Currently, children who ages 5-17 are eligible to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. At this time, no other Covid vaccines have been approved for children. Children who are age 4 years and younger are ineligible for any Covid-19 vaccine. Click here to learn more about Covid vaccinations for children.

Planning a Safe Holiday Gathering

While some people may be planning large gatherings to celebrate the holidays, others are nervous about this prospect and are not yet ready to gather with others. For those who may want to get together with friends or family during the holidays, there are ways to make these gatherings safer and less risky.

Some hosts are requiring that all guests be vaccinated against Covid-19. You could also host your gathering outdoors. If you’re worried about cold weather ruining an outdoor event, you could have your event during the day, provide guests with warm blankets, or set up an outdoor heater. If you prefer to gather indoors, you can take steps to increase ventilation in your home by opening a window. You might also consider using a HEPA air purifier in the home. The CDC has advised that if people are gathering from multiple households in different parts of the county, guests should think about taking extra precautions, such as taking a Covid tests before the event. Having guests take rapid Covid tests just before they enter your home can be a good option for guests attending a holiday party.

If you want to add additional safety precautions, solicit feedback from your guests about how to gather safely. If you plan to attend an event at another person’s home, it is perfectly acceptable to ask that person about Covid safety precautions before RSVP’ing yes to that event. Think about who else will be attending the gathering and assess risk based on the guests’ needs. If you have a guest who is elderly or immunocompromised, it may be prudent to host a smaller gathering or take additional precautions to reduce the risk of illness.