DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now given the green light for all adults to get COVID-19 booster shots, but are pharmacies and doctors’ offices ready for demand here in the Wiregrass?
Late Friday, the U.S. opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and took the extra step of urging people 50 and older to get a booster shot.
Until approval, Americans faced a confusing list of who was eligible, under the new rules, anyone 18 or older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose. Experts said people can mix-and-match boosters from any company.
“We have 11 yes’s and zero no’s and vote number 1 passes,” Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The CDC’s approval came hours after the FDCs gave the okay to expand the eligibility for the third shot.
A decision that came after many states saw a spike in COVID-19 cases and 14 states started urging people to get their boosters despite no federal recommendations.
“A third shot, a booster shot, six months after your second shot of Moderna of Pfizer, dramatically reduces your risk of getting infected and spreading the virus,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean at Brown University School of Public Health said.
Right now the positivity rate in Alabama is 4.5% which is considered ‘moderate’ for the spread of the coronavirus.
Only 45.6% of the state is fully vaccinated, but only 15.6% have gotten a booster.
“At this time, The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is following developments related to booster COVID 19 vaccines. ADPH understands that the FDA has expanded Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for booster doses for both Pfizer and Moderna to all persons ages 18 years and above. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet today to consider this expanded recommendation. ADPH will follow the recommendations of ACIP and CDC regarding this vaccine update.”ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Nationally, about 17% of those who are fully vaccinated have received a booster dose.
“The rate of disease is markedly lower, for those who received their booster shot,” Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the CDC said.
Southeast Health is currently offering the COVID-19 booster vaccine at its hospital and you can set up an appointment online.
Pharmacies like Winn Dixie’s and CVS’ in Dothan have been seeing an increase of Alabamians wanting to get their boosters. One pharmacist telling WDHN he’s been giving out well over 40 COVID booster shots a day.
Another saying she’s giving out about 50 a day, both agreeing there are enough vaccines out there
“Readily available, across the county, it doesn’t take a lot of time, it should be easy for people to do and that is what our focus is on,” Jen Psaki, the White Press Secretary said.
Friday’s new guidelines don’t really change things for anyone who got the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the wait already was just two months. Doctors want to emphasize boosters are a great idea but people getting their first round of shots is going to be how we stop the spread of this virus.