Can you get a COVID-19 booster shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally issued guidelines about who is currently eligible for coronavirus vaccine boosters.
The rules are somewhat complicated. The only vaccine booster currently available is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are expected to be approved in the future.
People who are able to get the booster must be fully vaccinated at least six months ago. That means they’ve already received two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
CDC recommends that the following groups receive a booster dose:
- Anyone aged 65 years and over who was fully vaccinated six months ago,
- Anyone aged 18-64 with underlying health conditions and believe it would be beneficial,
- Residents in institutional or long-term care settings,
- People aged 18-64 who have a high-risk job such as health care workers, firefighters, grocery store employees, teachers, and more.
Find the current list here.
In addition, the FDA and CDC have authorized third doses for:
- Anyone who has been vaccinated with either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots and has a compromised immune system due to chronic illnesses, transplant surgery or cancer treatment, among others.
This is because some immunocompromised people did not mount a good response to the vaccine. A third shot ensures that they are protected.
CDC recommends that a third shot is received at least 28 days after completing a previous two-dose series. A person’s primary care provider is best positioned to determine whether a third dose is appropriate, as well as when it should be given.
Experts are recommending booster shots and third doses for these populations that are more vulnerable or more likely to be exposed to the virus because there has been evidence that the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time. Also, the delta variant — which is the predominant strain in Washington state — is more infectious than other variants have been so far.
Seattle and King County have taken steps to accommodate demand for booster shots. The two governments announced on Sept. 27 that they have reopened or increased capacity at 17 vaccination sites and have enough vaccine doses and supplies for everyone eligible.
Boosters are also available here at ICHS. Eligible ICHS patients can receive a booster dose as part of a scheduled medical appointment. Walk-ins are welcome at our pharmacies in the International District, Holly Park, and Shoreline. Call to make an appointment at the our Bellevue clinic.