At one point in 2021, there was a playful culture war pitting Team Pfizer against Team Moderna, with social media tags eliciting posts of loyalty for which brand of vaccine eager adults received. Fast forward two years and the brand loyalty has faded, herd immunity has taken hold, and staying up to date on your vaccines can be confusing.
But it doesn’t have to be, according to public health experts Brian Labus, PhD, MPH, REHS, assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Public Health, and Brad Hutton, MPH, founder of Hutton Health Consulting. While the timing of sequenced vaccines was once of the utmost importance, now there’s only one objective: to have the most recent vaccine available.
“Regardless of whether a person is completely unvaccinated or has received all doses that were recommended since January 2021 (which would have been 5 or more doses so far depending on the manufacturer of the first vaccine you received, your age, and immune status), the recommendations are the same: to receive one dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine,” Hutton told Verywell.
In fact, the term “booster” is now somewhat of a misnomer. All FDA-approved shots are now considered doses of their brand of vaccine, formulated to address a prominent strain of SARS-CoV-2, which is XBB.1.5, says Hutton.