COLUMBUS (WCMH) – This is the first full week of expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
Pfizer’s booster has been approved for about a month. The CDC approved boosters of Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines late last week.
With this increased eligibility, Dr. Joseph Gastaldo expects vaccine providers will be a bit busier.
“Because we will be giving boosters, I’m certain we will be giving more vaccines in the state of Ohio,” said Dr. Gastaldo, an infectious disease expert with OhioHealth.
“However, from a control perspective of this pandemic, it’s still much more important to get vaccines into people who have not yet been vaccinated.”
Some providers are already giving boosters. Some require appointments, while walk-ins are allowed at other places.
“The best advice and ideally [someone] would have someone to talk — to their trusted healthcare provider –on whether or not they should receive a booster,” said Dr. Gastaldo.
Guidance for the Pfizer and Moderna boosters are similar. They are available for those 65 and up. They’re also available for those 18 and up who live in a long-term care setting, have underlying health conditions, or work in high-risk settings.
People must have also received their second dose at least six months ago.
For those who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, two months must have passed, and the CDC recommends anyone 18 and up who got that shot, get a booster.
“When it comes to the official recommendations on a booster, one vaccine is not recommended over another,” said Dr. Gastaldo.
Side effects for the booster are similar to side effects of the second Moderna or Pfizer shots and the single shot of Johnson & Johnson.
“We know from the side effect profile from the clinical trials that the booster doses, for example with Pfizer and Moderna, are the same as the second doses. And same thing for the Johnson and Johnson, the booster dose for the Johnson and Johnson,” he said.
The CDC also says it is fine to receive a different shot for your booster than earlier shots. More guidance can be found here.
Dr. Gastaldo says if you have any questions, ask your doctor about those concerns.