Covid-19 Booster Shots are Out—Should You Get It?

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Alyssa Rask, Staff Writer

In the United States alone, 183M individuals are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Worldwide, 6.1B doses have been administered. Now, some health officials are recommending a third shot: a booster.

What is the Covid-19 Booster Shot?

John Hopkins Medicine, the fourth ranked hospital in the nation, says the booster shot “is an additional dose of a vaccine” given after the protection of the original doses begin to decrease over time. In addition, the booster is designed to help people maintain their level of immunity to Covid-19 for longer.

Who is Eligible?

Earlier this month, both the CDC and FDA have agreed on the decision to offer booster shots to eligible Americans. “Starting today, if you are six months out from your last dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you are eligible for a booster if you fall into one of three high risk groups,” stated US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy during  last weeks White House Covid-19 Briefing.

The first eligible group is if you are 65 or older. The second group recommended for the booster is if you have a medical condition that puts you at high risk severe illness with Covid-19. Murthy includes conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic kidney disease in this group.

The third group includes individuals who work in a setting in which puts you at a high risk of exposure to Covid-19. “This includes health care workers, teachers, those living in shelters or prisons and grocery store workers, ” says Murthy.

Can I Get the Covid-19 Booster Shot If I Received the Moderna or J&J Vaccine?

Dr. Doran Fink, a deputy director of the FDA’s Division of Vaccines, said only “individuals who completed a primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine” can receive the booster dose. This decision leaves out millions of Americans vaccinated with either the Moderna vaccine or J&J shot.

However, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy reassured the millions of Americans who did not receive the Pfizer vaccination. He stated that the “FDA is working closely with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to get and process their data as quickly as possible,” adding that boosters for J&J and Moderna recipients may be available “in the coming weeks.”

If I am Eligible for the Covid-19 Booster Shot—When and Where Can I Receive It?

In the United States alone, nearly 1 million fully vaccinated individuals have already received a booster dosage.

Jeff Zients, the White House Covid-19 coordinator, stated there is “plenty of supply” of boosters to receive at pharmacies, doctors offices, and in some cases, mass vaccination sites.

“Boosters will be free for everyone, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. No ID or insurance required,” Zients said Friday.