Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds.
Jessica led CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
ExpertiseContent strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
If you're one of the more than 100 million people in the US who's eligible for a COVID booster shot, it isn't always easy to know which locations near you have the vaccine brand you want: either Moderna or Pfizer. Luckily, you can simply text a single number to find vaccines near you and which brand is available (for example, my closest CVS only stocks Moderna booster shots). You can also start making an appointment with a single tap and maybe even get you a free ride.
As of Dec. 5, adults 18 and up are now urgently recommended to get booster shots six months after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, and two months after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson. Vaccine protection against variants like delta has been shown to wane over time, prompting the urgency around booster shots as the omicron variant continues to spread. People who are not fully vaccinated are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and more than 10 times more likely to die, according to a recent study.
Text to see if your closest pharmacy has Moderna or Pfizer (or both)
To find out where to get the Moderna or Pfizer booster, text your ZIP code to 438829. This number is part of a US government program tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the website Vaccines.gov.
I tried it out with the ZIP code for CNET's San Francisco office and almost immediately received a list of two Walgreens pharmacies in the area, including their full addresses, phone numbers and a short code link from Bit.ly where I could make an appointment online. (Bit.ly is a reputable and convenient platform for shortening long URLs -- I use it all the time.)
The response includes which vaccine brand is available at each location, and for which age group. For example, "Moderna (18+), Pfizer (5-11)" to indicate a pharmacy that has Moderna in stock for adults and Pfizer shots for kids under 12. Note that booster shots are currently approved for all adults, but at this point they have not been approved for kids because it takes time to collect the necessary data, so guidance could change over time.
The text message also includes a link to Vaccines.gov for more information, a phone number to call if you need more help (800-232-0233) and a simple way to reply -- respond with "UPDATES" -- if you'd like to get COVID-19-related updates by text message to your phone.
What to know about free Uber or Lyft rides to your vaccine appointment
If you need help getting to your booster appointment, you can respond to the text with a "Y" for yes, to indicate that you would like a ride. You'll receive another text message in under a second that offers free rides from Lyft and Uber, respectively, to vaccine appointments (there may be some caveats here that you'll want to look into).
Watch this: What to do if you lose your vaccination card, and how to never lose it again
How to know when to get a booster shot
Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS should begin to actively contact people who received a full dose at their locations when it's time for a booster. In addition, 64 million people on Medicare and 34 million of older adult members of AARP will be contacted to get booster shots. Older adults are considered one of the most vulnerable populations.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.