WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the approval of booster shots for those who received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and local health departments are once again working to ramp up vaccination efforts which are starting to look like the initial rollout of the vaccine.
Not everyone is eligible right now to get a booster shot and, so far, it is only for those who have received the Pfizer series of shots. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are not for booster shots at this time. While booster shots were only recently approved, third doses of the vaccines have been available for some time now.
“Third doses are available to self-attested immunocompromised individuals, per CDC guidance, that received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and are at least 28 days past the date of their second dose. Public Health does not have the Moderna vaccine on hand but will be able to offer the Pfizer vaccine to those eligible,” according to the New Hanover County Department of Health and Human Services.
While the shots are both technically a third dose, the initial rollout of third doses was more restrictive when compared to booster shots.
“The boosters are for people who are at least six months out from their second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer. That booster is exactly what it sounds like, it is designed to boost someone’s immunity,” New Hanover County Health Director David Howard said.
The administration of the booster shots will see a similar process to what we saw when the first doses of vaccines were distributed. Earlier in 2021, we saw the implementation of a tiered grouping process that allowed individuals who were most at-risk to get vaccinated before the rest of the population.
The process took months until the general public could get a vaccine, and the early days were chaotic with people making hundreds of phone calls trying to get an appointment for the vaccine. Now, the demand for vaccines has waned and finding a place to get a booster shot appears to be easier with folks being able to get same-day appointments with no problem.
Howard said that he does not expect this round of vaccination efforts to be the same as it was back in January of 2021 when the initial doses were being distributed.
“As it is now we are able to provide doses, any doses, a first and second for those initially getting vaccinated or booster doses or third doses I mentioned, to anyone at any time with the supply we have on hand. We don’t have to conserve those quote-unquote ‘second doses,’” Howard said.
Who is eligible for the latest rounds of booster shots?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- “People aged 65 years and older and adults 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, and can also increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions.
- Residents aged 18 years and older of long-term care settings should get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Because residents in long-term care settings live closely together in group settings and are often older adults with underlying medical conditions, they are at increased risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19.
- People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, that risk is likely not as high as it would be for adults aged 50 years and older who have underlying medical conditions. People aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.
- People aged 18–64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside. Since that risk can vary across settings and based on how much COVID-19 is spreading in a community, people aged 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.”
Where can I get a vaccine?
As with the prior vaccination efforts local health departments, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices will be offering booster shots. You can find a convenient location to get the booster shot online.
Can I get a Pfizer booster if I did not get Pfizer for the first two doses?
At this time it is not recommended by the CDC to get a Pfizer booster shot if you did not receive it for your first round of vaccinations, however, Howard said he expects Moderna boosters to get approved in the upcoming weeks.
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