Pfizer vaccine LGH

A dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is given in Lancaster County.

President Joe Biden rolled up his sleeve on Monday for a COVID-19 booster shot.

Emerging research shows waning immunity after six to eight months.

Boosters are fairly common as even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time.

Universal boosters are not here yet.

But the steps the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took last week — expanding eligibility for those who received the Pfizer vaccine — begins a new phase in the nation’s vaccination campaign.

Here’s what you need to know about getting your own booster.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are approved for a booster shot?

The mRNA vaccines —Pfizer and Moderna — are approved, to varying degrees, for a third shot designed to give a boost an individual’s immune system response.

On Aug. 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to permit an additional dose for the roughly 3% of American adults who are immunocompromised.

Last week, the CDC expanded booster eligibility to more Americans, but only for those who received the Pfizer vaccine.

Am I eligible for a booster if got the Moderna vaccine?

While the Pfizer vaccine was given wider approval last week, the FDA has not yet done so for the Moderna and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Moderna recipients who are not immunocompromised will have to wait for a booster, for now.

Boosters are not yet available for those who got the J&J vaccines.

When will those who got the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines be eligible for a booster?

U.S. regulators are expected to decide in the weeks to come on widespread boosters for those brands.

When is a booster recommended?

A third Pfizer shot is recommended at six months after a patient received their second shot.

Where can individuals get a booster shot?

There are roughly 80,000 vaccination locations nationwide.

Most big-box pharmacies — CVS, Target, Walgreens, Walmart and more — offer COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters.

To find a vaccine location near you, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/.

Who can get a booster shot?

More than half of the United States is eligible for a booster.

Based on the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation, the following adults can get a Pfizer booster dose:

- Individuals 65 and older and those living in long-term care facilities.

- Those 18-64 with underlying medical conditions such as:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney and lung diseases
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Neurological conditions, such as dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions
  • HIV

Frontline workers 18-64 at an increased risk for contracting COVID-19 because of an occupational or institutional setting.

Patients taking medications that weaken their immune system should be aware that they may not be fully protected, even if fully vaccinated.

Is it OK to mix and match COVID-19 vaccines?

In short, no.

Boosters should be administered with the same manufacturer. So, patients who received a Pfizer vaccine should get a Pfizer booster.

What’s required for the booster?

Patients must present a copy of your vaccination card, but are not required to have an ID or insurance.

Will I be charged for getting a booster?

COVID-19 vaccines are and always have been free of charge, although some sites do seek an administrative fee reimbursement from insurance companies.

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