Do you need a covid vaccine booster shot?

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Are you eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot? Do you need one?

The answer depends on your age, your health conditions and how long it has been since your first shot or two-shot series.

On Oct. 21, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines in certain populations. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) n and CDC’s recommendation for use are important steps forward as we work to stay ahead of the virus and keep Americans safe, she explained.

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series:

• 65 years and older;
• Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings;
• Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions; and,
• Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.

For the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated at least two or more months ago.

There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of “mix and match” dosing for booster shots.

Some studies have shown those who originally received the J&J shot may increase their resistance to the covid virus if they have the Moderna or Pfizer booster shot.

Millions of people are newly eligible to receive a booster shot and will benefit from additional protection, the CDC advises. However this action should not distract from the critical work of ensuring that unvaccinated people take the first step and get an initial COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC warned. More than 65 million Americans remain unvaccinated, leaving themselves – and their children, families, loved ones, and communities– vulnerable.

Available data show that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating delta variant. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging, according to the CDC.

“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19. The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant,” said Walensky.

Have more questions? Consult your doctor. Some medical conditions and treatments may impair the effectiveness of the vaccines.

In Florida, most COVID-19 vaccines are available in most pharmacies. To find vaccine locations near you, go online to:
https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, the Florida Department of Health advises monoclonal antibody treatments (MAB), can prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death among high-risk individuals. This treatment is available widely in Florida. Individuals 12 years and older who are high-risk, that have contracted or been exposed to COVID-19, are eligible for this treatment. Treatment is free and vaccination status does not matter.

To find a MAB site near you, go online to: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator/

For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations and MAB, contact the Florida Department of Health in your county:

• Okeechobee County: 863-462-5800;

• Glades County: 863-946-0405;

• Hendry County: 863-983-1408;

• Palm Beach County: 561-514-5300;

• Martin County: 772-221-4000;

• Collier County: 239-252-8200;

• Highlands County: 863-386-6040.

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