Safety Monitoring of COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses Among Adults - United States, September 22, 2021-February 6, 2022

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Feb 18;71(7):249-254. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7107e1.


During September 22, 2021-February 6, 2022, approximately 82.6 million U.S. residents aged ≥18 years received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.* The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a booster dose of either the same product administered for the primary series (homologous) or a booster dose that differs from the product administered for the primary series (heterologous). These booster authorizations apply to all three COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States (1-3). The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended preferential use of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273 [Moderna] or BNT162b2 [Pfizer-BioNTech]) for a booster, even for persons who received the Ad26.COV2.S (Janssen [Johnson & Johnson]) COVID-19 vaccine for their single-dose primary series.§ To characterize the safety of COVID-19 vaccine boosters among persons aged ≥18 years during September 22, 2021-February 6, 2022, CDC reviewed adverse events and health impact assessments following receipt of a booster that were reported to v-safe, a voluntary smartphone-based safety surveillance system for adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination, and adverse events reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a passive vaccine safety surveillance system managed by CDC and FDA. Among 721,562 v-safe registrants aged ≥18 years who reported receiving a booster, 88.8% received homologous COVID-19 mRNA vaccination. Among registrants who reported a homologous COVID-19 mRNA booster dose, systemic reactions were less frequent following the booster (58.4% [Pfizer-BioNTech] and 64.4% [Moderna], respectively) than were those following dose 2 (66.7% and 78.4%, respectively). The adjusted odds of reporting a systemic reaction were higher following a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster, irrespective of the vaccine received for the primary series. VAERS has received 39,286 reports of adverse events after a COVID-19 mRNA booster vaccination for adults aged ≥18 years, including 36,282 (92.4%) nonserious and 3,004 (7.6%) serious events. Vaccination providers should educate patients that local and systemic reactions are expected following a homologous COVID-19 mRNA vaccine booster; however, these reactions appear less common than those following dose 2 of an mRNA-based vaccine. CDC and FDA will continue to monitor vaccine safety and provide data to guide vaccine recommendations and protect public health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems*
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology
  • Safety*
  • United States


  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 vaccine booster shot