For many Americans it's time to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster, which is essential to stay protected from the virus according to Dr. Michael Gottlieb M.D. Clinical Immunologist, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, The David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. He says, "It's important to understand that with most vaccinations the level of immunity declines over time. The critical level of immunity varies with the bug, the vaccine and the number of doses and schedule. Some vaccines confer immunity that lasts many years. Others require additional doses because the level of immunity falls more quickly or the organism evolves mutations that allow it to evade immunity. That's why some vaccines including those for COVID-19 need an additional dose (a booster) to get immunity to whatever critical level gives optimal protection." Read these essential tips to find out if you're eligible for a booster and how to get one at CVS or Walgreens—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Who Is Eligible For A Booster
Right now, only the Pfizer booster has been recommended by the FDA and the CDC. Those who got Moderna or J&J are likely to be recommended to get their boosters later this month. According to the CDC, the following populations are eligible to receive a booster dose at this time:
Individuals ages 65 and older.
Long-term care facility residents ages 18 and older.
Individuals ages 18 and older with underlying medical conditions. Individuals ages 18 – 49 should consider individual benefits and risks, according to CDC guidance.
Individuals ages 18-64 who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, such as first responders, grocery store employees, healthcare and essential workers.
Can You Mix And Match the Booster and Vaccines?
A question asked more and more now is if you get a certain vaccine can you get a different booster. Dr. James Berenson, MD Medical and Scientific Director Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research in West Hollywood explains, "We don't have any information to support if you get a Pfizer vaccine you should stay with Pfizer. Moderna worked much better than Pfizer, way better. Three and a half times on the average levels. A percentage of people who were protected was about two and a half times higher than those who got Pfizer. With getting a different booster, it's less clear. Although the recommendation now is to stay with the same one, we don't know that we know the answer yet whether you should or you should switch. I think it's a huge conundrum what to do right now. We're still analyzing a lot of data. I would tell you that a month ago I would tell you not to get Moderna, but now with the data emerging I'm not sure that's true anymore. I would tell you it's unclear at this point and that you for sure don't have to stick with the same one. I don't think that's true at all, but whether you should move from Pfizer to Moderna I can't tell you that yet. If you've never had a vaccine, go get Moderna. But if you're talking about the point where you're getting a booster, I think it's a less clear scenario."
Can I Get A J&J Booster?
Soon. "Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously Friday to recommend a booster dose of Johnson&Johnson's vaccine at least two months after people get the first dose," reported CNN . "The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 19-0 to recommend the extra dose for all recipients of the J&J Janssen vaccine, which is authorized for people 18 and older. They asked to simplify the original question being posed by the FDA, which had asked the committee to say whether the data showed that waiting six months or longer after getting the first shot would provide an even stronger immune response…Anyone who got the single-shot Johnson&Johnson vaccine 'can benefit from a second dose' of it," Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Friday."
Can I Get A Moderna Booster?
The LA Times reporter on October 14th, 2021 "U.S. health advisors said Thursday that some Americans who received Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago should get a half-dose booster to rev up protection against the coronavirus. The panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously to recommend a booster shot for seniors, as well as younger adults with other health problems, jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk for COVID-19. The recommendation is nonbinding, but it's a key step toward expanding the U.S. booster campaign to millions more Americans. Many people who got their initial Pfizer shots at least six months ago are already getting a booster after the FDA authorized their use last month — and those are the same high-risk groups that FDA's advisors said should get a Moderna booster. But there's no evidence that it's time to open booster doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to everybody, the panel stressed."
So how soon can people get a Moderna booster? CNBC reported on October 14th, 2021 "A final FDA decision on Moderna boosters could come within days. A CDC vaccine advisory committee is then expected to vote on the FDA's proposal next week. If it recommends approval and the CDC endorses it, booster shots could begin immediately for eligible Americans who completed their immunizations at least six months ago."
How To Get A Booster At CVS
For people who are eligible for a booster, CVS offers them and Joe Goode, Senior Director Corporate Communications at CVS says, "We have begun administering the Pfizer/BioNTech booster vaccine at more than 5,000 CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country, and strongly encourage customers to schedule an appointment in advance at CVS.com to ensure they are able to access the correct vaccine at a convenient time and location. CVS Health has the experience and the infrastructure to play a leading role in administering booster shots to eligible populations. We're fully prepared to meet any increase in demand resulting from regulatory approval of the Moderna or J&J booster vaccine and await further guidance from the CDC."
RELATED: The #1 Cause of Aging Too Quickly
How To Get A Booster At Walgreens
Walgreens also offers the booster and a Walgreens Corporate Spokesperson says, "Beginning September 24, same-day appointments will be available to those eligible on a walk-in basis at select Walgreens stores. New patients to Walgreens seeking a booster shot will be asked to verify eligibility when the appointment is scheduled and at the time of the appointment. Patients can either bring their COVID-19 vaccine dose card to the appointment so the booster shot can be recorded, or information about their primary vaccine series to receive a new vaccine card noting the booster dose. Currently, patients with a registered Walgreens pharmacy account can access their vaccines records via the Walgreens website or mobile app. Individuals can schedule their COVID-19 booster shot and additional immunizations through visiting Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine, by calling 1-800-Walgreens or by calling their local Walgreens. While walk-ins are accepted as available, Walgreens recommends scheduling your appointment at a time that is convenient for you." So get yours when eligible, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.