Local health expert tackles COVID-19 vaccine booster FAQs

NOW: Local health expert tackles COVID-19 vaccine booster FAQs

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind --- More Americans could soon be eligible for COVID-19 booster shots if approval for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters come as soon as this week, and some residents ABC57 spoke wanted their questions answered before feeling confident about rolling up their sleeve, for a third time.

“I’m curious about when I can get the booster since I just got my shot in May?” asked Michiana resident Joanna Cote.

“Right now, the only kind of booster authorized by the CDC is those who started with the Pfizer series who are at least six months out and definitely for people over 65,” answered Dr. Mark Fox, the Deputy Health Officer for St. Joseph County.

In addition to those 65 and older, Pfizer's booster is also only recommended for those 18 and up with high exposure to COVID or underlying health conditions.

But what about folks who don’t fall under that category looking to get an extra shot?

“I’m not 65 or older can I still get the vaccine, even though I don’t know if I have an underlying condition?” asked local resident Scott Ferrell who suffers from high blood pressure.

“There are sorts of medical conditions that may put people at high risk but if he’s at least six months out from Pfizer he can go in and get the booster,” added Dr. Fox.

The FDA hoping to expand vaccine eligibility this week, looking to recommend booster shots for both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, in addition to allowing more flexibility for Americans to mix and match vaccines.

But some are wondering how safe it is to actually do so?

“Now there is good data to support both the safety of it and the benefits of it in many cases. So the group that really benefit, we know that people who get the full series of Pfizer and Moderna are very well protected in those first six months, people who got the single dose of Johnson and Johnson are not as well protected, but now with this mix and match approach which again the FDA scientists have given their blessing to, so there will probably be a formal recommendation by the end of this week,” added Dr. Fox.

So, if you’re eligible to get your booster shot just how do you roll up your sleeve again?

“You make your appointment online through outshot or you can walk into a provider of your choice.” said Fox. “Any place that offers the Pfizer vaccine for first or second dose will be able to give you a booster dose of Pfizer as well.”

Now those recommendations for both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are expected to come later this week, and if given the green light more booster shots could be going into arms by the end of the week.

If you would like to learn more about booster shots click here. 

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