COVID-19 booster shots now available: What you need to know

Coronavirus

BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – Pharmacies and vaccine sites across the Bay Area have begun offering the Pfizer booster shot for those eligible.  

To begin with, you must have had the Pfizer vaccine and your second dose had to be at least six months ago. 

“This is only for Pfizer, that’s the only vaccine where we have sufficient data to make those recommendations,” Dr. John Swartzberg said. 

The CDC recommends the following people get booster shots:

  • People aged 65 and older
  • Adults 50–64 with underlying medical conditions
  • 18+ in long-term care facilities 

Those 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions are also eligible. 

“If you’re at particular risk of getting really sick from COVID you want to get that booster shot to boost your immunity back up to a higher level,” Dr. Sara Cody said. 

In addition, those who are 18 to 64 who are at higher risk due to their job are eligible. 

These include:

  • First responders, such as healthcare workers, firefighters and police
  • Education staff like teachers, and daycare workers
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Corrections workers
  • Postal workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers  

“You can go to your neighborhood drugs store or you can go to your health care provider or a standup vaccine clinic,” Dr. Chris Farnitano said. 

It’s best to check online first to make sure a specific site is giving the booster and if an appointment is required. 

Those who are out of luck for the moment are those who either got the Johnson and Johnson shot or those who got Moderna.

“I’m not feeling anxious in the interim because these vaccines are still giving us very good protection from what we care about and that is hospitalization and death,” Dr. Swartzberg said. 

UC Berkeley infectious disease specialist Dr. John Swartzberg says data on a Moderna or Johnson and Johnson booster should be available in the next few weeks, what remains unclear is how long the booster will last. 

“It’s going to take time to answer that question. My guess is that the third jab is going to give us a lot more than just several months,” Dr. Swartzberg said. 

While getting a booster is important, doctors say even more important is getting the unvaccinated, vaccinated.

You can find more booster shot information on the Contra Costa website and San Francisco website.

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