By Brittany Anderson
Adults aged 18 and older can now officially receive a COVID-19 booster shot at least six months after their initial vaccinations, regardless of their health status.
The Hays County Local Health Department (LHD) is following guidance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which updated on Nov. 19 the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to authorize a booster dose for all adults 18 and older at least six months after their primary series of vaccinations.
Those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine can receive a booster at least two months after their initial vaccination.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation that booster doses of these vaccines be available to all adults.
According to the FDA, the authorization is based on their analysis of immune response data that supported use in the previously authorized populations for boosters.
Booster doses were previously only available to those 65 years or older, or those 18 through 64 years old who were at risk of severe COVID complications or frequent institutional or occupational exposure to the virus.
Regardless of which vaccine an individual got for their primary series, they may choose any authorized vaccine for their booster — aka, “mixing and matching” is allowed. The Moderna booster is half of the dose (50 mcg or 0.25 mL) that is administered during the primary series dose.
Common side effects of the booster have been reported as mild to moderate fever, headache, fatigue and pain at the injection site, similar to that of the primary Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.
According to data from the CDC, as of Nov. 29, 20.5% of vaccinated individuals have received a booster dose, or 40.2 million people. In total, 59.3% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated while 70.1% have received at least one dose.
There are currently 311 active COVID cases in Hays County, with two COVID-related fatalities occurring between Nov. 22 and Nov. 29. There are currently 13 people hospitalized; of those, 10 are unvaccinated.
The Texas Department of Health Services recommends that people consult a healthcare provider if they have questions about their risks from COVID and whether a booster dose would be beneficial for them.
Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available Monday through Friday at Live Oak Community Clinic in San Marcos from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Walk-in Pfizer vaccine clinics are available Monday through Friday at CommuniCare in Kyle from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.