Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Boosters available – but only for some

Additional shot now authorized for those who received Pfizer vaccine

 

September 30, 2021



The COVID-19 vaccine booster shot program is underway and an additional shot is currently being offered to those who fit within a specific set of age, health or profession criteria. However, boosters are only available at this time for those who were originally given the Pfizer vaccine.

Crook County Public Health does now offer the Pfizer vaccine but, due to storage limitations, the local office did not have this version available in the early days of the vaccination program. Consequently, because Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still in the authorization process for the booster program, many people in this area will need to wait a little longer.

However, Public Health encourages those who need or would like a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster (corresponding with the brand you were given for your original vaccine) to call the office at 283-1142 to be added to the waiting list. Authorizations are anticipated soon for those two versions of the vaccine.

Public Health will ask for your name, a contact number and the date of your final vaccine in order to add you to the list.

The booster program was launched because, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), studies have shown that protection from the COVID-19 vaccines may decrease over time, making them less able to protect about the more virulent Delta variant. Although vaccination remains effective in preventing severe disease, the CDC says that recent data suggests vaccination is becoming less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms.

However, the CDC’s recommendations are bound by what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendations will allow. At this time, the booster authorization therefore only applies to people who originally received the Pfizer vaccine.

“Today, ACIP [the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] only reviewed data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky on Friday. 

“We will address, with the same sense of urgency, recommendations for the Moderna and J&J vaccines as soon as those data are available.”

At this time, even for those who received the Pfizer vaccine, the booster program is limited to a certain group of people. You are eligible for a booster and should consider getting one if you received the Pfizer vaccine and you fall into one of the following categories:

You are over the age of 65 years.

You are between the ages of 50 and 64 years with underlying medical conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney or lung diseases, dementia or other neurological conditions, diabetes, Down syndrome, heart conditions, HIV, an immunocompromised state, liver disease, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, organ/stem cell recipient, stroke or cerebrovascular disease or a substance use disorder.

You are a resident of a long-term care setting (of any age group.)

You are also eligible if you fall into one of the following two categories, although current guidance states that you “can” get a booster shot, rather than that you “should.”

You are between the ages of 18 to 49 years with underlying medical conditions.

You are between the ages of 18 and 64 years and are at increased risk due to your occupational or institutional setting, such as front line and essential workers including first responders, education staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers.

Booster shots are given at least six months after you received your second shot of the vaccine. The date should be listed on your vaccination card.

“While we continue to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 vaccines for those people who are not yet vaccinated, these booster doses are intended to help provide continued strong protection for those who are most likely to experience severe illness or exposure to the virus,” said state health officer Dr. Alexia Harrist when the booster program was announced in Wyoming.

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safe and effective against COVID-19, including the variants, and are especially good at protecting against severe illness. This Pfizer booster recommendation for more vulnerable people was not unexpected and it will not be surprising to see similar future recommendations for the vaccines produced by other companies.”

According to the CDC, you are still considered fully vaccinated if you received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or one of the Johnson & Johnson.

 
 

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