Recently, the FDA and CDC have approved COVID-19 booster shots (a third dose) for certain patients who received either the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines for COVID-19.
Why Get a Booster Shot for a Vaccine?
Booster shots for vaccines are recommended to maintain long-term protection from a virus and reduce a patient’s risk of severe disease and hospitalization.
After receiving any vaccination, a person’s immunity can diminish over time. For example, rebuilding our immunity is the reason why we need a Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) booster every 10 years.
Additionally, in patients whose immune systems might be weaker or compromised due to any number of reasons (i.e. steroid medications, cancer, and other diseases that cause immune deficiency), vaccinations aren’t always as effective. Immunocompromised patients’ immune systems cannot generate as many antibodies as an individual of average health with an average immune system.
Who Is Eligible for a COVID-19 Booster Shot?
At this time, booster shots are not recommended for everyone. Eligibility depends on your age, medical history, living situation, and potential exposure risk.
You might consider scheduling an appointment for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if you fall into the following categories:
You received your second dose of either the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago.
You are 65 years of age or older.
You are 18 years of age or older and live in a long-term care facility.
You are 18 years of age or older and are at an increased risk of exposure and transmission as a result of your occupation (healthcare workers, essential workers, etc.)
At this time, booster shots have only been approved for Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech and have not yet been approved for the Johnson & Johnson vaccination or any other COVID-19 vaccine.
Should I Get a COVID-19 Booster Shot?
At this time, the CDC recommends a booster shot for individuals in the above-listed categories. Of course, the decision to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccination is a personal choice that should be based on your individual risk and medical history and a decision that should be made in conjunction with your doctor.
If you’d like to speak with a doctor about your eligibility for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and your potential disease risk, we welcome you to contact Gulf Coast Health Center to schedule an appointment at a location near you.
Gulf Coast Health Center, Inc. is a private, non-profit community based organization. We are partially funded through grants, including funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration. A sliding fee scale is available to all patients regardless of insurance.