The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday, 24 September, approved booster shots for a larger group of Americans, including those who are 65 years and older.
Soon after, US President Joe Biden on Monday received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on camera at the White House. "The COVID-19 booster shots will provide even more protection from COVID-19 for those who are at greater risk," he tweeted.
The COVID-19 booster shots will provide even more protection from COVID-19 for those who are at greater risk. That’s why today, I got my booster — and encourage everyone who’s eligible to do so as well. pic.twitter.com/XO4l3XxgLG
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 27, 2021
As states have already began rolling out the third dose of vaccines, there is a viable confusion among general public on who can receive the boosters and who cannot. Here is a quick explainer.
Which vaccine has been approved for booster shot?
CDC-recommended booster shots are only available for people who have received both the doses of Pfizer-BioNtech.
The person should have completed at least six months after receiving their second dose.
Who is eligible?
The following groups should receive a booster shot:
People above 65 years of age
Residents above 18 years of age in long-term care settings
People aged 50-64 years with underlying health issues
Can essential workers or healthcare workers get the booster?
Yes, CDC and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommends people working in occupations with increased risk of COVID-19 to get the booster shot. However, they are advised to consider individual risks and benefits. The list of such occupations includes:
Frontline workers – healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff
Food and agriculture workers
US postal service workers
Public transit workers
Grocery store workers
What should people who received Moderna or Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccines do?
More data on the safety and effectiveness of both the vaccines is expected soon.
Once that data is in hand, CDC will inform the public with a "timely plan" for Moderna and J&J booster shots. Watch out this space for more information.
Are there any risks to getting a booster shot?
So far, reactions reported after receiving the Pfizer BioNtech booster shot were similar to that of 2-shot primary series, that is, first and second dose of vaccines
Pain at the site of injection and weakness were the most commonly reported side effects
Most side effects ranged from mild to moderate
Similar to 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare, but are possible to occur
What documents should I take before going to get the booster shot?
You should keep the following documents:
Bring your vaccination card to your appointment
Keep the vaccination card of your booster shot as a record
If you have lost the card, contact your vaccination provider directly.
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