COVID-19

Are COVID-19 Booster Shots Free?

Alexis Bryan
Alexis Bryan21 Dec 2021

COVID-19 booster shots are free, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of 18 get their booster shot.

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COVID-19 Booster Shot Cost

There is no cost for a COVID-19 booster shot. Vaccine providers are allowed to seek reimbursement from insurance companies, they can not charge you for the booster shot or any associated fees. 

COVID-19 vaccination providers can not:

  • Charge you for a vaccine
  • Charge you directly for any administration fees, copays, or coinsurance
  • Deny vaccination to anyone who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network
  • Charge an office visit or other fee to the recipient if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Require additional services in order for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as appropriate

If you have health insurance, the provider may ask you for your health insurance card so they can bill your health insurance company for the booster shot, but you are not required to pay anything. If you do not have health insurance, the provider will bill the federal government for the cost of the booster shot. Still, you are not required to pay anything.

If You Get Billed for a COVID-19 Booster Shot

If you get billed for a COVID-19 booster shot, do not pay it. First, you should report the bill by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS. Secondly, contact your vaccine provider and insurer to make sure the charge is revoked.

Where to Get a Free Booster Shot

To find an appointment for a COVID-19 booster vaccine, you can use the CDC’s VaccineFinder. Just type in your 5-digit zip code, search radius, and which booster you are looking to get. A list will populate with all locations in your area.

Click on a location, and the VaccineFinder will tell you if there are appointments available and if they are necessary. Some places accept “drop-ins”, meaning you do not need an appointment.

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Using the VaccineFinder

  1. Once you click a location near you, there will be many details to help you get a COVID-19 booster shot, including an easy link to make an appointment.
  2. Scroll down, and there will be a list of available vaccines at your location of choice. As you can see, this information is updated frequently for your convenience.
  3. Lastly, under “More Details,” you can find the hours of operation, if the site accepts walk-ins, and if they offer flu vaccines. Guidelines for the coadministration of the flu vaccine and COVID vaccine suggest getting both at the same time is safe.

Alternatively, you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) for help getting a COVID-19 booster shot.

When to get a Booster Shot

If you received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, you should get a booster shot at least six months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series (2 doses, 21 days apart).

If you received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, you should get a booster shot at least two months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination.

Initial VaccineWhen to Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot
Pfizer-BioNTech
  • If you are 16-17 years old:
    • At least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series
  • If you are >18 years old (including pregnant people):
    • At least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series
  • If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised and did not receive a third dose:
    • At least 28 days after the second dose
  • If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received a third dose:
    • At least 6 months after completing third mRNA vaccine dose
Moderna
  • If you are >18 years old (including pregnant people):
    • At least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series
  • If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised and did not receive a third dose:
    • At least 28 days after the second dose
  • If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received a third dose:
    • At least 6 months after completing third mRNA vaccine dose
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen
  • If you are >18 years old (including pregnant people):
    • At least 2 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination
  • If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised:
    • At least 2 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination
    • *moderately or severely immunocompromised people who received J&J as their primary vaccination should not receive more than two COVID-19 vaccine doses

COVID-19 Booster Shot Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

39% of people say the information they have seen about COVID-19 booster shots has been confusing, but with the spread of the new Omicron variant, getting a booster shot may help to protect you against the variant.

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Am I eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot?

Anyone 18 years and older who received their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna initial vaccine series at least six months ago or the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine two months ago is eligible for their booster dose. The only booster shot for people younger than 18 years old is a Pfizer shot for teens aged 16–17.

People over the age of 50 and others with underlying conditions are especially encouraged to get boosted when possible. Fully vaccinated people who received their first COVID-19 vaccines outside of the U.S. or in clinical trials with a brand not currently authorized can now receive a Pfizer booster shot.

Which COVID-19 booster shot should I get?

You can get any of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a booster shot, regardless of the one you received initially. If you get a different booster shot from your initial series, this is referred to as “Mix and Match” and is proven safe and effective.

There are differing recommendations for getting it depending on your initial dose. For example, those who received a single dose Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine can receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine booster dose (Pfizer or Moderna) two months after their initial vaccination. People who received an mRNA primary series should get a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Janssen) at least six months after completion of the primary series.

Do I need health insurance to get a COVID-19 booster shot?

You do not need health insurance to get a COVID-19 booster shot. Vaccines and booster shots are available to everyone at no cost. CMS ensures COVID-19 vaccination is accessible, and Medicare beneficiaries also pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines or their administration. There is no applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible.

If you get billed for the vaccine, an office visit fee, or anything else at all, you should dispute it with your vaccine provider or report it by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS. Vaccination providers cannot deny you a COVID-19 vaccine or booster for any reason, including immigration and health insurance status.

Bottom Line

COVID-19 booster shots are free of charge for everyone in the United States and can provide further protection against the Omicron COVID-19 variant when compared to having just two doses. 

To make a COVID-19 booster shot appointment, visit the VaccineFinder, call 1-800-232-0233, or talk to us at Mira! We can help you access a range of services, including a vaccine appointment.