The Bottom Line on Booster Shots
Everyone waiting on the arrival of vaccine booster shots could stop holding their breath in mid-November 2021. The CDC expanded eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots to all adults on November 19. Before you search, “booster shots near me,” take a minute to learn the ins and outs of enhancing your protection against COVID-19.
The FDA Announcement: It’s Time for a Boost
Per the current recommendations, people age 18 and older who received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or the J&J/Janssen Single Dose COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot.
Health Factors: Booster Shots for Immunocompromised People and More
Booster shots will be helpful for everyone to protect against COVID-19, but especially for the immunocompromised.
Booster shots for immunocompromised people are important, but there are also many other conditions that can make COVID-19 more serious. The list of conditions below does not include every qualifying condition, but it is a strong start.
These are the conditions that experts are greenlighting for booster shots as of now. If you see your condition listed, a booster shot is recommended to help prevent the likelihood of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.
- Heart conditions
- Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
- Kidney, liver, or lung diseases
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Organ or stem cell transplant
- Down syndrome
- Mental health conditions
- Smoking or having been a smoker in the past
- Substance use disorders
- Compromised immunity caused by medication or illness
Risky Business: Jobs that Increase Vulnerability
Vaccine booster shots are more important for those in high-risk jobs. Examples of such jobs include:
- First responders, such as EMTs or police officers
- Healthcare workers
- Retail workers
- Postal service workers
- Educators and other school or daycare staff members
- Food and agricultural workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections officers
- Public transit workers
Maintaining Protection: What I Need to Know About Booster Shots Near Me
The Mixed Approach
Did you know you can mix and match vaccines? Research has shown it’s safe to take any of the booster shots after previously completing full vaccination with another brand of shot. In fact, a recent report revealed that receiving the J&J/Janssen booster shot for people initially immunized with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine produces a strong immune response and may do more to elicit protection against severe disease.
A Novel Virus: Guidance from the Experts
Has trying to keep up with COVID-19 guidance made your head spin? You’re not alone. When navigating a pandemic, it’s normal for new developments to change previously published guidance. While it’s clear the vaccines help, the question is how long the protection lasts.
“Since we are learning about COVID-19 in real-time, this is hard to know,” says Dr. Albert Shaw, an infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine. “People get confused, or they think something is wrong,” the doctor said, referring to those who’ve lost trust for the vaccines because of the boosters. “The booster question is being worked out as we speak.”
In the meantime, Dr. Shaw recommends those who have not yet received a vaccination, get started now. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.