COVID-19 Booster Vaccinations: What You Need to Know
November 4, 2021
Texas MedClinic offering Pfizer booster doses
Texas MedClinic offers the COVID-19 Pfizer booster dose to qualified recipients that received their FULL series of Pfizer/Moderna more than SIX months ago. Additional criteria for BOOSTER the doses:
- I am 65 years or age or older
- I am 18-64 years old and I work or live in an environment that increases my risk of exposure to persons with COVID-19
- I am 18-64 years old and I have an underlying medical condition that increases my risk of contracting severe COVID-19
- I have high-risk medical conditions as listed by the CDC
Recent debate over guidelines for COVID-19 booster vaccinations have left many confused and wondering if they are eligible for a booster shot. Here’s what you need to know to keep yourself and your family well.
Who is currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster?
On October 20, the Food and Drug Administration approved COVID-19 booster vaccines for people who received Moderna’s two-shot series and Johnson & Johnsons single shot vaccine. The organization previously approved boosters for those who completed the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series at least 6 months ago. Those who received the Moderna two-shot series are eligible for a booster 6 months after completing their initial vaccine series. People who received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a second shot 2 months after receiving the first.
The agency also updated authorization for all three vaccines—Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson—to allow medical professionals to offer a booster that differs from a patient’s original vaccination, calling it a “mix and match” strategy.
People currently approved to receive booster vaccinations must meet one of the following criteria:
- Are 65 years old or older
- Are 18 or older and live in a long-term care setting such as a nursing, intermediate care, psychiatric, or substance use disorder facility
- Are 18 or older and have underlying medical conditions
- Are 18 or older and work in high-risk settings including first responders, education staff, correction workers, and grocery store workers
- Are 18 or older and live in a high-risk setting including correctional facilities and homeless shelters
- People 18 years and older, regardless of work environment or underlying medical conditions, who have received the single dose of the J&J vaccine TWO months prior are eligible for the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J booster dose.
“Studies indicate that vaccine protection against COVID-19 begins to decrease over time,” said Texas MedClinic Chief Operating Officer and practicing physician Dr. David Gude. “Recent data suggests a vaccine booster can increase the immune response in patients who previously completed their primary series or received the J&J vaccine.”
What is considered an underlying medical condition?
If you or someone you love are living one of the following underlying medical conditions, you could be at increased risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate to severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension)
- HIV infection
- Immunocompromised state
- Liver disease
- Overweight and obesity
- Pregnancy (or recent pregnancy within 42 days following end of pregnancy)
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Smoking, current or former
- Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
- Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
- Substance use disorders
If I need a booster, does that mean the initial COVID-19 series was ineffective?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine remains our best weapon for preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
I’m not in one of the recommended groups. When can I get a booster shot?
The CDC is waiting for more information to become available before recommending booster vaccines for additional groups of people. Expert data review is currently underway to determine how well the vaccines are working among different populations, and how new variants, like the Delta variant, are affecting vaccine efficacy.