MSDH expands eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all adults 18 and older

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Nov. 29—TUPELO — The Mississippi State Department of Health has lifted age and health restrictions for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, expanding eligibility to include all Mississippians 18 and older.

MSDH announced the change on Monday.

Appointments for boosters can now be made at all county health departments, or with any COVID-19 vaccination provider, for those who qualify.

A person is eligible to receive a booster dose six months after their last dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccination.

The date of an individual's last vaccine dose received will be verified upon arrival to the vaccination clinic before a booster shot is administered.

"Booster shots help maintain your immunity, which may decrease over time," MSDH said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and urged people 50 and older to seek one out, aiming to ward off a winter surge in coronavirus cases as people traveled for the holidays.

Prior to the change, eligibility for a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine was a confusing hodgepodge based on age, health and the type of initial vaccine dosage.

Under the FDA's new guidelines, anyone 18 or older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose. Those who received Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine only have to wait two months to get a booster shot.

Those receiving a vaccine booster can mix-and-match from among any of the vaccines on offer.

Although all three U.S. COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against severe illness associated with COVID-19, including hospitalization and death, their effectiveness can wane over time, necessitating an additional dose.

The MSDH reports that 1,403,433 Mississippians have been vaccinated as of Nov. 24 — the last time data on statewide vaccinations was updated. Of those, 252,114 have received a booster dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

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