Boosters are now approved for specific populations below:

On September 24, 2021 the CDC’s independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended certain populations receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine at least six months after the completion of their Pfizer vaccine primary series. In addition, the CDC Director recommended a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings. 

CDC recommends:  

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series; 

  • people aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series; 

  • people 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks; and  

  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Fees (updated 02/25/2021)

All CPESN pharmacies that are participating in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program:

  • must administer COVID-19 Vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost to the recipient

  • may not deny anyone vaccination based on the vaccine recipient’s coverage status or network status

  • may not charge an office visit or other fee if COVID-19 vaccination is the sole medical service provided

  • may not require additional medical services to receive COVID-19 vaccination

  • may seek appropriate reimbursement from a program or plan that covers COVID-19 Vaccine administration fees for the vaccine recipient, such as:

    • vaccine recipient’s private insurance company

    • Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement

    • HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program for non-insured vaccine recipients

  • may not seek any reimbursement, including through balance billing, from the vaccine recipient

Frequently asked questions

Should I call my pharmacy to get signed up to receive the vaccine?

While we LOVE to talk to our patients. Pharmacies are currently experiencing an exceptionally high call volume that is making it difficult to keep up with daily work. We recommend checking your pharmacy's website and social media pages for updates on their COVID-19 vaccine availability first. If the information is not there, then try calling the pharmacy for details.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last. You should, however, wait to receive the vaccine at least 90 days after you have tested positive for COVID.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Many CPESN IOWA member pharmacies are working with their local health departments across the state to administer vaccines in their communities. CPESN was also recently activated in Iowa as a Federal Pharmacy Partner and some pharmacies will begin to receive small allotments of vaccine through that program. Please check our Pharmacy Finder page ( to find the nearest CPESN IOWA member pharmacy and check their website and/or social media for the latest infromation on vaccine availability and their process to schedule an appointment.

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?

Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data becomes available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However, the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly evolves. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.

If we need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?

No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.

What should people who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine do?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC’s recommendations are bound by what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization allows. At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or J&J/Janssen vaccine will likely need a booster shot. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots are expected in the coming weeks. With those data in hand, CDC will keep the public informed with a timely plan for Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots.

What are the risks to getting a booster?

For many who have completed their primary series with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the benefits of getting a booster shot outweigh the known and potential risks. So far, reactions reported after the third Pfizer-BioNTech shot were similar to that of the 2-shot primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.

Does this change the definition of “fully vaccinated” for those eligible for booster shots?

People are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine. This definition applies to all people, including those who receive an additional dose as recommended for moderate to severely immunocompromised people and those who receive a booster shot.

Can you explain these “permissive” recommendations related to people 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions, and people 18 to 64 who may be exposed due to occupational/institutional setting? How are these different from the other two recommendations?

Adults 18–49 who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as are people 18-64 are in an occupational or institutional setting where the burden of COVID-19 infection and risk of transmission are high. However, that risk is likely not as high as it would be for adults 50 years and older who have underlying medical conditions, or people who live in long-term care settings. With the lower risk, the data do not support that everyone who falls into this group should get a booster shot. Therefore, CDC’s recommendation is not as strong for these populations, but still allows a booster shot to be available for those who would like to get one. People 18 and older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions or their occupation should consider their individual risks and benefits when making the decision of whether to get a booster shot. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.

Will providers accept anyone who says they’re eligible to receive a booster shot? Will people need to show a doctor’s note/prescription or other documentation?

It’s important to note that individuals can self-attest (i.e. self-report that they are eligible) and receive a booster shot wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for these select populations receiving their booster shot.

CPESN IOWA Executive Director, Lindsey Ludwig and Network Pharmacist, Ryan Frerichs were pleased to joined Governor Reynolds during her press conference to share how community pharmacies have been working with local public health to vaccinate Iowans. We look forwarding to expanding the number of network pharmacies providing COVID vaccine across the state including many rural communities.