Millions of Americans can now receive a second COVID-19 booster shot, but who specifically is eligible?
The Food and Drug Administration last month authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and for certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging that those eligible rush out and get it right away. That decision expands the additional booster to millions more Americans.
Should I get a second booster now or wait a while?
Those in the age 50 to 60 category who are healthy and don’t have any additional comorbidities should talk to their doctors and consider whether BA.2 is rising in their community. We now know that the effects of the vaccine wane after four to six months, so the timing is very important in order to maximize the benefits. It takes about a week for the effects of boosting to occur.
If you are immunocompromised or over age 60 or 65, I’d advise getting a second booster sooner rather than later, because the risks of COVID are still substantial.
Why does the FDA contend a first booster is not enough?
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals. Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the agency’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
Scheduling an appointment is preferred and will be available via the Walgreens app or online at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine
Patients who received 2 doses of the J&J vaccine (initial dose and first booster) may either schedule the second booster by calling 1-800-Walgreens or receive it by walk-in appointment.