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With the news that COVID-19 booster shots will become available to the public in September, you probably have a few important questions. Why are they recommended? Who’s eligible? Am I still protected by my other shots? We’re here to address questions like these based on the information we have.
On August 18, public health and medical experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement outlining their plan to begin offering the booster shots this fall.
According to the statement, “Our top priority remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting the American people from COVID-19 with safe, effective and long-lasting vaccines especially in the context of a constantly changing virus and epidemiologic landscape. We will continue to follow the science on a daily basis, and we are prepared to modify this plan should new data emerge that requires it.”
Here’s the latest information we have on the booster shots:
Why Get a Booster Shot?
Vaccine effectiveness reduces over time. That’s why many childhood vaccines require multiple doses and boosters. According to federal health officials, research has shown reduced vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection over time.
With the highly contagious delta variant sweeping our nation and other parts of the world, there’s concern that protection from the vaccines might decline even more over the coming months, especially for those at higher risk for severe infection and those who were among the first to be vaccinated.
Getting a booster shot is a good way to stay ahead of the virus and increase protection.
Who’s Eligible for a Booster?
The booster vaccines will be available to all adults who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. They’ll start rolling them out on September 20 — first to those who were fully vaccinated earliest, including many health care providers, seniors and nursing home residents.
You’ll need to wait eight months after your second vaccine dose for a booster. They’re highly recommended for those with compromised immune systems. Priority is given to high-risk groups.
What About Johnson & Johnson Boosters?
For now, booster shots are recommended for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only. A separate booster recommendation for those who received a Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine is expected soon.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was authorized for use in the U.S. a little later than the others — in March — and data on safety and efficacy of an additional dose is not currently available.
Am I Still Protected from My Two-Dose Vaccine?
Anyone who is fully vaccinated still has great protection from becoming seriously ill or hospitalized from COVID-19. The thinking behind laying the groundwork for boosters in the coming months is to avoid severe COVID-19 cases and deaths in the future if protection against serious illness wanes.
Vaccination is Our Best Defense
The boosters will provide extra protection into the future if you’ve already had your two doses. With all the serious illness and increase in hospitalizations of mostly unvaccinated individuals that we’ve been seeing at AdventHealth and across the country, we know vaccination is our best defense to protect you, those you love and our entire community against coronavirus infection.
To receive your booster shot, speak with your primary care provider, or check with your local pharmacy. If you’ve had your vaccines, stay up-to-date on the booster shot rollout by visiting our Coronavirus Vaccine Resource Hub. Our goal is to keep you healthy and whole in body, mind and spirit.