All of Us

Covid Vaccination Status in an Era of Boosters

by Douglas Quine, PhD

I’ve seen a couple of recent articles about the proper way to describe one’s current COVID vaccination status as the number of available COVID vaccination options expands. I disagree with the recommendation that people who received the original and follow-up (Pfizer or Moderna are most common) vaccinations call themselves “fully vaccinated.”

I received my original Pfizer COVID vaccines in December 2020 and January 2021 as an employee of Veterans Affairs Healthcare.

I have participated in the COVID vaccination antibody study from the beginning which has helped determine the longevity of protection by the vaccinations. As recommended, I subsequently received my Pfizer boosters in October 2021, May 2022, and the Pfizer bivalent booster (with Omicron variant) in October 2022.

Clearly the definition of “fully vaccinated” is a moving target as new guidance is released regarding boosters and as new variant vaccines are produced. I believe the most practical approach is simply to describe my status as having had 5 COVID vaccinations (2 original and 3 boosters including bivalent), making me currently up to date.

Those who are young, or who began the vaccination series late, might describe themselves as having had 3 COVID vaccinations (2 original and a bivalent booster) making them currently up to date if they were not yet eligible for the next booster.