The Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine is now available for eligible individuals as of Tuesday, Sept. 28, at all three Kent County Health Department (KCHD) locations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a booster shot only for those who originally received both Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at least six months ago. The recommendation for the booster is geared toward those in certain populations and those who find themselves in high-risk occupational and institutional settings.
Locations and hours of each KCHD clinic can be found on the health department’s website. Those who wish to schedule their booster shot or first vaccine dose can call (616) 632-7200.
The COVID vaccines available in the U.S. remain effective in reducing the risk of death, hospitalization and severe illness caused by the virus, including the delta variant. Boosters are now approved and recommended as public health experts have begun to see a decrease in protection against mild to moderate symptoms.
The CDC states those who should get the booster shot include:
- People ages 65 or older
- Residents in long-term care settings ages 18 years or older
- People ages 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions
The CDC also recommends the following groups may receive a booster based on their individual benefits and risks:
- Adults ages 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions
- Adults ages 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission
- Adults ages 18-64 years who work or reside in settings such as health care, schools, congregant care facilities, correctional facilities or homeless shelters
- Essential workers such as first responders (firefighters, police and EMS), food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers
The CDC continues to review data regarding booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and is expected to make additional recommendations for the public soon.
Recent reports also noted a “third dose” of the COVID vaccine, which differs from a booster shot. The CDC specifically and exclusively recommends this additional, FDA-approved third dose in the meantime for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
The third dose is intended to bolster immune system for those who might not receive the same level of protection gained from the regular course of vaccination, due to being on medication or having a medical condition, which limits their immune system’s protection capabilities.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved for a third dose only for those who are immunocompromised as soon as 28 days following their second dose.
More information regarding the third dose vaccine can be found here.
Boosters are an additional shot given to previously vaccinated people after at least six months and helps to maintain the same level of immunity in the future. The third dose is intended only for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
There is currently no recommended additional dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.