When can you get your COVID-19 booster shot?

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Current CDC guidance says that if you are 65-years or older or if you are 18-years-old and living in long-term care settings, have an underlying health condition or work or live in a high-risk setting, you are eligible for your COVID-19 booster shot if you received either the Pfizer or Moderna shots at least two months ago.

For the Johnson & Johnson shots, anyone 18-years and older who received one at least two months ago can get one.

But what if you don’t fall into these categories? What if you’re not sure if you do? What if you just really want one?

Sanford Health’s Dr. Michael Wilde encourages people to seek out the vaccines.

“Get the booster,” he said. “Get vaccinated.”

He notes that the guidance from the CDC is well-defined, but also very broad, meaning that if you want to get a booster shot, there’s a good chance that you actually qualify.

Dr. David Erickson, Avera Health’s Chief Medical Officer echoed Wilde’s point. “It’s that last piece where you talk about occupational exposure,” he said. “I think they (the CDC) leave it open enough — and they purposely I think wrote somewhat vague — so that if there are a majority of folks who want to get that vaccine booster, you can.”

Now may be a good time to get a booster if you qualify. As case rates across the region rise, Minnesota is currently dealing with a spike in cases, which Wilde mentioned as a concern, noting that we can expect to see a rise in cases as well due to proximity.

The goal, said Wilde is to control the rate at which we see an increase.

For Erickson, the clear way to control that increase is vaccination. “The vaccine is the way forward,” he said. “If you’re now six months or more out and you currently qualify based on the current guidelines from the CDC, please get your booster.”

Visit your physician or provider. Talk to your medical team and see if they feel you should go ahead and get the vaccine.

Dr. David Erickson

If you’re not sure if you meet the CDC qualifications, Erickson says to simply ask.

“Visit your physician or provider. Talk to your medical team and see if they feel you should go ahead and get the vaccine,” he said.

If for some reason you don’t qualify under the current guidelines, you may not have long to wait.

“I think we’ll know more the first part of next week,” said Erickson, discussing the possible CDC authorization of boosters for all persons aged 18 and up. “I think clearly with the case counts going up — I would speculate that they probably would move forward.”

Another reason to get you booster, said Erickson, is to protect those around you. “We’re also going into the holidays,” he said. “If you want to protect your grandparents — if you want to protect your grandkids — as everyone becomes eligible — I think you’ll see a lot if interest in it.”

When it comes to the holidays, Erickson paints an optimistic picture, tinged with caution. “If you have a smaller family unit and you’ve all been vaccinated, it’s very safe to get together.”

If you want to err on the side of caution, Erickson recommends getting a rapid antigen test done prior to seeing your loved ones.

If you’re going to be at an indoor event with people outside of your family unit, Erickson advocates mask use. “Masks are still very effective,” he said. “Feel free to wear a mask.”

Erickson also outlined the importance of getting your booster shot. “Clearly the evidence shows that if you’re vaccinated you have a significantly lower risk of serious medical complications, hospitalization and death,” he said. “When we look at the folks in our ICUs on a daily basis — for those COVID-positive patients in our hospitals on ventilators, invariably every one of them are unvaccinated.”

In the final moments of the interview, Erickson extolled the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s safe and it’s effective and it’s how we move forward.”

Asked for his final advice going into the holiday season, Wilde added this: “Get your flu vaccine.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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