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Q & A: Covid-19 Booster Shots

There is a lot of talk about Covid booster shots in the news right now. Here are a few of your questions answered about who qualifies for one and when.

Who qualifies for a Covid booster?
​The FDA has approved an Emergency Authorization Use (EAU) for a third Pfizer or Moderna Covid shot for those who are immunocompromised (must be four weeks past your second shot).

The CDC suggests that anyone who is moderately to severely immunocompromised receive an additional dose. This includes people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

If you are uncertain about your medical condition or a third shot, talk to you healthcare provider about whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for you.

I’ve heard about Covid boosters for people who have been vaccinated more than eight months. When would that become available for the general public?

The FDA and CDC are currently looking at approving third shots for anyone who is eight months past their second Covid shot. If given approval, the tentative start date for shots to begin would be mid to late September of this year. See the chart below to see when you could be eligible for a booster.

Do I need a booster if I received a Johnson and Johnson vaccine?
Currently, booster shots are for those who received mRNA vaccines. Data is still being reviewed at this time by the CDC/FDA to provide guidance for those who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

What is the booster shot and why should I get it?
The third shot is the same as the first two shots from Pfizer or Moderna. Early data seems to suggest that immunity can start to decline after eight months. The third shot is meant to help bring your immunity level back up to the 90%+ range for the vaccines, which can help with the highly contagious Delta variant.

Can you mix the shots?
The CDC recommends that people who received either Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

Where can I get a Covid booster?
You can schedule an appointment at NOCHS clinic here. Most large pharmacies are offering the booster shot. NOCHS Urgent Care is also offering first, second and booster shots on Thursday afternoons from 1:00 – 4:30 pm. Please bring your ID, Covid Vaccination record card and insurance card. You can also find all of the vaccine clinic offered in our area at, https://vaccinatewestmi.com/

Is it free?
Yes, like the first two doses, it is free. Depending on where you go, you might need to bring your insurance card to cover the administering cost of the vaccine.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days. ​

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