More patients are now eligible to receive an added layer of protection against COVID-19.
The CDC and FDA recommends booster doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines for all adults.
In November, the CDC recommended that 5-11-year-olds take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. It remains the only vaccine recommended for that age group.
Since then, the CDC has added two more age groups who should receive booster shots: all kids 12-17 years old, and kids 5-11 years who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
The CDC has also shortened the interval between doses for all people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech primary series. Fully vaccinated people should get a booster after five months, down from six months.
For all patients, the CDC authorized Pfizer booster doses at least five months after their second dose.
Patients 18 and older who received the Moderna dose should get a booster if it’s been at least six months since their second dose.
Patients 18 and older who received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine should get a booster if it’s been at least two months after their first dose.
Additionally, mix-and-match doses have been approved by the FDA and CDC. Adult patients do not have to get the same brand of booster as their original shot.
Jeffry Meyer, M.D., a Sanford Health family medicine specialist, said providers have been seeing more breakthrough cases — meaning individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may still contract the illness. However, because of previous vaccinations, many of the cases “are quite mild.”
“But for some people who are at high risk, it could not be so mild. So, a booster shot would seem to help prevent that,” said Dr. Meyer. The majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated individuals, he added.
Dave Munson, former mayor of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, received his booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine Sept. 28.
He said he decided on the booster shot because he wants to make sure he, and everyone, stays as safe as possible.
“It’s to try and protect all of the people in society. I think that’s the important part we want to look at. It’s not just me. Yes, it’s going to protect me, but hopefully I’m not a carrier where I spread it someplace else. I’d hate to do it,” said Munson.
“I’ve read cases where people haven’t had the vaccines, and then they’ve gotten the virus and it’s not a pretty picture,” he added.
Some unvaccinated individuals have stated concerns around the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The thoroughly tested vaccines have proven to be both safe and effective, with manageable side effects.
Munson said he respects each person’s individual choice, but he’s hopeful unvaccinated individuals will soon decide to become vaccinated.
“You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine. There’s really nothing to it. It’s the simplest thing you can do. I think for trying to slow down the horrific (virus), whether it’s the delta (variant), I think it really helps you.
“If you have to go back annually, who cares. I’d go annually anytime to do it. I think the benefits outweigh any negativity that they talk about,” he said.
Dr. Meyer said Sanford Health has “plenty” of vaccine. He said there was some road bumps early in 2021 with vaccine availability, but the health care system is equipped to offer shots to any patient.
“We have multiple locations that patients can get it at. All of our clinics have it, many of the pharmacies have it,” he said.
You can schedule an appointment for your COVID-19 vaccination at Sanford Health whether you are a current patient or not. COVID-19 vaccines are offered without an appointment at select locations.
Information in this story was accurate when it was posted. As the COVID-19 pandemic changes, scientific understanding and guidelines may have changed since the original publication date.
Posted In Coronavirus, Family Medicine, Immunizations