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COVID-19 booster - who should get one and when

Posted at 4:09 PM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 19:31:02-04

It's easy to be confused when it comes to booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine. Regence BlueCross BlueShield helps break down who should get them and when.

Dr. Amy Khan, Senior Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, "We’ve seen the continued spread of COVID-19 with this Delta variant, so the primary recommendation is to prevent cases by getting your primary vaccine series if you haven’t already gotten it."

Khan says getting one of of the three currently available COVID-19 vaccines is your best way to stop the spread of the virus. However, "booster shots are definitely in the news."

This, after the CDC and FDA met last month to consider information submitted by drug maker Pfizer on a potential booster dose or third shot for their vaccine.

"The reason being, is that it appeared that individuals who had received their primary series of Pfizer had waning immunity," said Khan.

Studies showed a booster shot increased that immunity, and has now been approved.

Tuesday, Johnson and Johnson asked the FDA to give the green light to its COVID booster.

The company submitted data showing a second shot boosts immunity to 94-percent when given two months after the original dose, and when given at six months, boosts immunity response twelve-fold.

An FDA committee will consider whether to approve boosters from Johnson and Johnson and Moderna at the end of next week.

As it stands right now, the CDC recommends the Pfizer booster for the following people - who finished the Pfizer series at least six months ago:

- Ages 65 and older
- Ages 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
- Residents in long-term care facilities

The CDC says those who may also consider getting the booster include:
- Ages 18-49 with underlying medical conditions
- Ages 18-64 in high risk settings, such as healthcare workers
- Those 18-64 who live in high risk settings

"Keep in mind that being immunized or vaccinated against COVID-19, you reduce your risk of acquiring infection by 5 fold, you reduce your risk of hospitalization 10 fold," says Khan.

For those also wanting to get protection from the flu this season, Khan says its safe to get your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time.