Doctors address COVID booster shot confusion

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 7:04 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For some of you, you’re several months out from your first COVID vaccine dose. And all the recent talk about boosters may have you confused.

Each step in the process is making headlines. But right now, it’s Pfizer that has the green light for most booster shots.

FDA advisers cleared Moderna and Johnson and Johnson of the first hurdle just this week.

“There’s a lot of anxiety,” said internal medicine specialist Dr. Justin Turner. “There’s a lot of stress. It’s understood because we’re dealing with the fear of the unknown, right?”

But the bottom line from doctors when it comes to boosters is... don’t panic. Be patient.

Think of it this way: The rollout for the vaccines initially prioritized the elderly and most medically vulnerable. The booster situation isn’t much different.

“The people who were likely to run out and get their first two shots are going to be the people who are likely to run out and want that third shot, too,” explained Dr. Steve Threlkeld, Bapitst Memorial Health Care Medical Director for Infectious Disases. “And so there are those who say, and I’d certainly agree, that we may have a lot more bang for our buck by trying to get people to get that first and second vaccine in terms of protecting our society, and protecting us.”

Dr. Turner says they’re still having patients getting those initial doses.

“It’s not too late,” said Turner. “All right, so don’t procrastinate. Vaccinate, because it may actually save your life if this is the time for you to get your vaccine for the first time. By all means, don’t put out tomorrow, what needs to be done today. Disagree with me about your feelings about the vaccine, but live another day to be able to have that disagreement.”

Pfizer boosters are cleared if you are 65 and older, have high-risk medical conditions or work in a high-exposure profession.

If you don’t fit one of those categories or instead got Moderna or J and J at first, doctors say your instructions are on the way.

“It’s a complicated situation, it’s probably not necessary for everybody,” Dr. Walensky with the CDC said. “I think very appropriately, we want people to walk, not run to their booster. And so the reality is, and this is an important thing to remember, that the first two shots that we provided, people already are still doing a great job at preventing severe forms of this disease requiring hospitalization, or worse, death.”

The experts are still looking at whether you’ll be able to “mix and match” the types of vaccines for your booster.

So far, the data looks like that may be possible. Again.. if you have questions, ask your doctor.

For more information about what boosters are available in Mississippi and who qualifies, click HERE.

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