The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week signed off on booster shots for some people who received two doses of Pfizer more than six months ago, citing a need to strengthen protections against the virus, as the delta variant continues to spread nationwide.
The decision to ramp up the distribution of a new round of shots presents new questions for people to decide if another dose is right for them. Here are the answers to a few common questions with what we know so far:
Who is eligible for booster shots?
So far, only certain people who received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine are eligible for boosters, at least six months after completing the series of shots. Eligible groups of people include:
People 65 years and older
Those between 50 and 64 who have underlying health conditions like obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney diseases or other conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19.
People between 18 and 49 years old “based on their individual benefits and risks
People 18 to 64 years old with heightened risks of exposure to the virus because of “occupational or institutional setting.” This includes health care workers, teachers, day-care workers, those in prisons and other situations.
Where can I get a third shot?
Eventually eligible people should be able to receive their booster most anywhere that offers the first two doses. For example, CVS Health says it’s preparing to begin administering the third shot, but hasn’t yet released scheduling details. While Publix said its pharmacies in Brevard, Duval, Orange and Polk counties will begin offering booster shots to eligible people.
At Walgreens, scheduling will begin Saturday for the booster at Walgreens.com/schedulevaccine. It will also offer flu shots to people the same day they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Why aren’t Moderna or Johnson & Johnson boosters available yet?
In short, because federal regulators haven’t reviewed sufficient data to recommend them yet, though studies are underway. Moderna filed an application to the Food & Drug Administration earlier this month for approval of its booster, which is under review. Johnson & Johnson has yet to submit its own application.
At some point will every vaccinated person be eligible for a booster?
Perhaps. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s top medical advisor, has acknowledged the possibility as recently as last month. However, studies are ongoing to determine how much immunity wanes over time among people who have received each of the three vaccinations, and how safe and effective boosters are.
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