Confused about COVID-19 booster shots? Here are answers

Nurse Jon Hight draws a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at the Salt Lake Public Health Center on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

Nurse Jon Hight draws a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at the Salt Lake Public Health Center on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Even though COVID-19 booster shots are available to older and more vulnerable Utahns who received the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year, many are still waiting to hear when they can get an additional dose as federal authorities continue to sort through proposals from other manufacturers. | Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Federal panel recommends extra dose for Moderna vaccine recipients

COVID-19 booster shots are currently only available for older and more vulnerable Utahns who received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, but more in that group may soon be eligible after an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended the shots for those who got the Moderna vaccine.

The unanimous vote Thursday backed a half-dose of the Moderna vaccine as a booster under the same restrictions as set last month for a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The advisory committee is expected to vote Friday on whether to also endorse booster shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Federal regulators will have the final say, although they typically follow the panel’s recommendations.

“I’m sure there’s some confusion,” Rich Lakin, Utah Department of Health immunization director, said of the question of who’s able to get a booster shot in the state. “People need to take the responsibility to kind of educate themselves, also. There’s just too many people to make sure everybody understands.”

Most of the more than 1.7 million Utahns who are fully vaccinated against the deadly virus got the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, just over 979,000 total. That’s compared to nearly 592,000 Utahns who received the Moderna vaccine, which also requires two doses, and almost 147,000 who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Lakin said there have been 84,240 third doses administered in Utah since the FDA approved the Pfizer booster shots in late September. He said that number includes previously authorized third doses of the vaccine for the immunocompromised, who don’t have to wait six months for a boost in antibodies.

At least for now, only the Pfizer booster shots are available and they’re limited to people who:

Got their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago
Are at least 65 years old OR are 18 or older AND
Live in a long-term care facility OR
Have a specified medical condition seen as making someone more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19, such as cancer, heart failure, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney, liver or lung disease, obesity, pregnancy, HIV, organ transplant, smoking or substance abuse OR
Work in a setting deemed high risk, such as health care, first responders, schools, correctional facilities, grocery stores, manufacturing plants, the U.S. Postal Service, homeless shelters, public transit, food and agriculture.

The recommendation is the same for the Moderna booster shots, which would be available only to those who initially received that vaccine. The same is likely to be true of the Johnson & Johnson …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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