AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – With the CDC’s recent endorsement of COVID-19 booster shots for multiple groups of adults around the United States, some may be confused: Who can get vaccinated now? How many doses does a person need? When? Which brand?
MyHighPlains.com has worked to answer these and other questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the High Plains.
Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to everyone 12 years old and older. The vaccines have been proven safe and effective for these groups, and Pfizer has shared data with the FDA to pursue vaccine approval for children six months through two years old. However, the approval for very young children has not yet been established.
How many doses do I need? When?
According to the CDC, moderately to severely immunocompromised people should consider a vaccine regimen of three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). People who are not immunocompromised are recommended to have a regimen of two doses of an mRNA vaccine.
As for when; regarding an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna, each dose is spaced out by around 28 days.
Currently, people who receive the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine only receive one dose.
What about booster doses?
According to the CDC, the goal is for people to start receiving COVID-19 booster shots around eight months after getting their second dose of an mRNA vaccine.
The CDC endorsed booster shots for people 65 and older, nursing home residents, and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also added people who are ages 18 to 64 years old and are healthcare workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
What’s the difference between a booster shot and an “additional dose”?
According to the CDC, sometimes those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised need another vaccine dose around 28 days after their second dose of an mRNA vaccine.
However, a “booster dose” is not part of the initial vaccine course. Booster doses, described the CDC, “another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity).”
Do I need a flu shot, still?
Yes. Medical experts say it’s more crucial now than ever to get a flu shot, even if you’ve already received the COVID-19 vaccine.