Do you qualify for a third dose or booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine? Know the differences

Local News

UTAH (ABC4) – Tens of thousands of Utahns became eligible to get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last month. Now, tens of thousands more will be able to get a booster shot. Health officials say there are some differences between the two shots and the Center for Disease Control outlines who is now eligible for the booster.

Millions of Americans may now be able to get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after approval from the Food and Drug Administration. This decision comes about a month after the moderately to severely immunocompromised became eligible for a third dose of the mRNA vaccine as part of their intial vaccine series.

“That just really helps to build or boost that efficacy or that protection level against COVID and especially hospitalization, or more severe disease, or death,” Weber-Morgan Health Department Epidemiology Nurse Amy Carter said about the third dose.

The third dose is given 28 days after the second dose. The CDC outlines who falls under the moderate to severly immunocompromised and notes that those individuals are not able to build up the same amount of immunity against COVID-19 as the general population does after two doses. The third dose helps bring the immunocompromised up to similar levels of immunity.

The booster shot is a little different. It will be given at least six months after a person’s second dose. Why six months?

“We anticipate that those immunity levels may start to drop or wane off over time and so we want to give you a booster now to bump those levels up to as high as we can get them,” Amy Carter explains.

Not everyone is elegible to get the booster dose yet. Top health officials are “prioritizing those who may be at highest risk or those who were kind of first prioritized to get the covid vaccine,” Carter said.

Who then can get a booster dose? The CDC recommends:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

With third doses and boosters now available for some heatlh officials ask Utahns to look for credible sources online when looking for information on the vaccine. Carter emphazied this saying, “There are some good resources online to get the best information and avoid some of that misinformation that’s out there.” She added, “The more we can get everyone vaccinated, that is our best protection against fighting COVID.”

To find the nearest COVID-19 vaccine to you, visit vaccines.gov.

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