Getting booster or 3rd shot in a couple hours, what does this question mean? Need answer fast!

I’m going this afternoon for what I thought was, equivalently, my booster or my 3rd shot, of Moderna. I just noticed that the clinic confirmation email contains the following:

“If you are getting the Moderna vaccine please be prepared to tell your vaccinator that you want the booster or if you are immunocompromised you need the third vaccine.”

Do I understand rightly that this indicates “booster” and “3rd shot” are different? Which one should I get?

I’m 64 1/2 and have chronic bronchitis with oral steroid treatment which has an immunocompromising effect.

Any help greatly appreciated!!

I am not a doctor but I’m pretty sure the “3rd shot” and “booster” are the same thing. They just used two different words for it, with poor phrasing.

It should be the same vaccine stuff, just injected into you for a third time.

My understanding is that the third shot is a full dose for those who didn’t build the expected level of immunity for medical reasons and that the booster is a smaller dose intended to counteract the effect of time on immune response.

DMC, I’m furiously googling this, and getting the same impression. Moreover, the third shot can be spaced similar to the way the first and second are, whereas the booster can be 6 months or more from the second. But it is hardly clear, and I’m finding places that say they’re the same thing, too!

If you had the initial vaccine schedule (two doses in your case) and are getting a shot due to the recently approved guidelines (over 65, under 65 plus risky medical issues, or under 65 and high risk profession plus 6 or more months since your second dose), then tell them that you are getting a booster. If you are immunocompromised and need more vaccine to make up for a weak response from the initial set of shots, tell them you want the third shot.

Many sites say boosters can be a smaller dose than shots 1, 2, or optionally 3. A site at says the Pfizer booster is a full dose, but:

“The Moderna COVID-19 single booster dose is half of the dose that is administered for a primary series dose and is administered at least six months after completion of a primary series of the vaccine.”

Details here:

If you are not immunocomprimised you should have the booster, which is different to the third-shot. It sounds like you are (due to the steroid) so you should have the third shot (I’m not a doctor or expert of any kind, I did watch a lot of Quincy ME when I was younger though).

Agreed that is a terrible description of a really important distinction.

Heck, I watched a lot of Dr. Kildare.

All the more reason I should be upping my immunity.

I just got the Moderna Covid booster two days ago. It’s a half dose. This has been a vaccine intensive year for me, I got Moderna vaccines in January and February, Shingrix in April and June, a high dose flu shot on October 8th and my third Covid vaccine on the October 26th. I should be able to start licking doorknobs.

Just to clarify, if you are immunosuppressed (on chemotherapy or chronic immune suppressants such as steroids or have HIV or another immune deficiency disease), you should get a third shot as part of your primary immunization . This is given at least 28 days after your second shot and is a full dose of Pfizer or Moderna and should be the same as your first two vaccines. Six months after completing the primary series, high risk people (including the immune compromised) should get a booster shot. This according to the CDC can be any of the vaccines but the Moderna vaccine is a half dose. That means that if you are on chronic steroids, you actually need four doses, the initial two, the third full dose a month later and a booster six months after that.

My problem the last couple of days has been with patients who shall we say stretched the truth to get a third Moderna shot before the booster was approved. They all got a full third dose after saying that they were immune compromised and now are being told to come back in six months for their fourth dose. They are now also concerned about having gotten a full third dose of Moderna instead of the half dose booster. It doesn’t help that those giving the shots apparently do not understand the difference between immune compromised (and due for a third shot) and high risk (and a booster shot recommended) and have been telling patients who are elderly or have chronic lung disease but not on steroids that the are immune compromised.

FWIW, this is the CDC definition of immune compromised:

Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes people who have

  • 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 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

I got the shot yesterday. It was a 3rd shot, full dose Moderna.

Just curious, I don’t think I was hearing about the 3rd dose last spring when I got the first two. It sounds like I should have gotten 3 shots last spring, and a 4th shot 6 months later (which would be 1 more month from now). Was the 3rd shot standard practice last spring?

The third shot was only approved a couple of months ago. ( To be exact, on August 12). It was not available in the spring. Your booster should be 6 months from this last shot.

I got a full 3rd shot of the Moderna, because I take an immunosuppresive drug monthly.

You must have been in front of me in line. :grinning: My first two shots were Pfizer but I got a half dose of Moderna for my booster because that’s all that this particular CVS had. The pharmacist said that it was because Moderna is still being given on emergency authorization, but that seems suspicious to me.
Slightly sore arm, no other side effects btw.

I am 70, with chronic bronchitis or maybe it’s (fairly mild) asthma or COPD, using a corticosteroid daily. But with a difference: I’m huffing an inhaled steroid, not taking an oral steroid.

I asked my doctor specifically last March, before my initial two Moderna shots, if I should discontinue the inhaler for a week or so, before and after the shots. (I’ve got it mild enough, I could do that without too much trouble.) His opinion was that inhaled steroids don’t get into the bloodstream enough to affect much of anything outside of the lungs directly, so he felt there was no problem getting the Covid shots while using the steroid.

That may be all different, though, for an oral steroid.

This thread makes me wonder, though, if I should get a booster or a third full dose. Now I’ll want to ask my doctor what he thinks about that.

There’s an issue with getting the shot while using steroids? This is news to me.

I understood that steroids compromise the immune system, making it more important to be vaccinated, wear masks, and avoid exposure. But nobody has mentioned shots during therapy as its own issue, not my pulmonologist and not the people administering the shots (whom I told about the steroid therapy).

I’m on inhaled and nasal steroids 100% and have frequent spells of needing oral Prednisone, in the 40 to 60 mg/day range. This has been going on for 35 years.

The definitions of “chronic bronchitis” and “COPD” seem blended together. I’ve found a few web sites that say if you have chronic bronchitis, you have COPD. I think the problem is the terms are all evolving. When I first became sick, “COPD” meant any two of three particular diseases, which were emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and I forget the third one.

By the way, I had very little discomfort at all. For a couple days, my arm was sore to the touch, but only a bit. And that was all.

I got my booster on Thursday (10/28), and I had the worst side effects of all my three shots. I know it was the booster, so it should have been a smaller dose, right? But my arm was very sore (it’s still sore to the touch) and a higher fever, and I had strong flu symptoms for about 18 hours. Not all that bad, but with my first two shots, I only had mild fever, lack of energy, and moderate body aches for about a day.

That’s the point. Vaccines stimulate your immune system to build those antibodies. If your immune system is not all there, then it won’t respond as fully to the vaccines. Steroids reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system. Ergo, vaccinations while you’re on steroids will be less effective.

NSAID drugs do similar. They reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune response. (The various things I’ve read are all over the place about whether acetaminophen does likewise.)

This was in the news about a year ago, regarding flu shots. I’m pretty sure I recall discussion on this board about it too.

I discussed it with my doctor last year before getting my flu shot. His opinion was that NSAIDs would probably have only a minimal effect on interfering with vaccinations, and inhaled steroids not at all. IIRC I asked him again before getting my Covid shots last March, and he said the same about that. (We didn’t discuss oral steroids like Prednisone. AIUI, doses in the range of 50-60 mg/day are high doses, and I imagine that could affect your vaccination if you’re using that around the time you get your shot. If I were me, as I sometimes am, I’d be asking my doctor for clarification about this.)

ETA: So which shot did you end up getting? The booster dose or the full dose?

The full dose. Hardly any discomfort, and certainly no flu-like feelings, just a mildly sore arm.