September 27, 2021: Update on Third Dose of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Dear members of the Columbia community,

We write to update you on several matters relating to last week’s FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcements which authorized a third dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Who is covered?

1. People who completed their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago are eligible as follows: 

  •  Age 65 and older
  •  Residents in long-term care settings
  • Age 50 to 64, with underlying health conditions that put them at high risk of severe COVID-19
  •  Age 18 to 49, with underlying health conditions, based on individual benefits and risks
  • Age 18 to 64, whose occupation puts them at high risk of exposure to COVID-19

2. Any persons who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.

When do these new provisions take effect?

The FDA and CDC authorized the use of boosters (third dose) of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine for category #1 above and this was affirmed by New York State Department of Health.  People in category #2 have previously been covered and have been receiving their third dose.

What about people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The FDA and CDC will be evaluating the data these two pharmaceutical companies have submitted and we will advise you when decisions are made regarding these two vaccines.  Doses cannot be interchanged, so if you received either Moderna or Johnson and Johnson you will not be able to receive a Pfizer “booster”.

Where can Columbia affiliates receive their booster dose?

Vaccines are widely available at local pharmacies and drug stores. The following websites can help you find a vaccination location:

In addition, you may make an appointment through your Connect  account.

Will Columbia University be requiring the booster dose for eligible Columbia affiliates in the categories noted above?

At this time, Columbia University is not requiring booster dosing.

Will Columbia University be providing seasonal influenza vaccination?

Similar to COVID-19 vaccines, influenza vaccines are widely available through local pharmacies and drug stores as well as through your provider.  More information will be forthcoming on influenza vaccination scheduling.

Donna Lynne
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, CUIMC
University COVID Director

Gerry Rosberg
Senior Executive Vice President