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All adults eligible for COVID-19 booster shots six months after Pfizer, Moderna vaccine

UPDATED: Sat., Nov. 20, 2021

All vaccinated adults are eligible for booster doses, regardless of underlying conditions or age.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opened up eligibility for booster doses for all people 18 and older given the following criteria:

  • If you received the Pfizer or Moderna two-dose vaccine before mid-May (at least six months ago), you are eligible for a booster.
  • If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine before mid-September (at least two months ago), you are also eligible for a booster.

The recommendation comes just before the holiday season arrives. Health officials and experts strongly encouraged those at higher risk for more severe outcomes from COVID-19, like older adults and those with underlying health conditions, to get their booster ahead of the holiday season.

“Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose.”

Nonserious side effects from booster doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are similar but not as common as they were after the second dose of each vaccine. Boosters have been associated with similar side effects to mRNA vaccines following the second dose, which includes things like soreness at the injection site, headache, fever and fatigue.

More than 31 million Americans have received a booster dose.

Data from more than 700,000 people who received booster doses shows that those who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine initially stuck with that brand for their booster dose, while those who received Johnson & Johnson vaccines for their first dose have predominantly opted to get a Moderna or Pfizer booster.

Mixing and matching for your booster dose is still allowed.

While booster doses are effective at increasing immune responses, vaccines don’t automatically lose efficacy at the six- or two-month mark. Data shown to the CDC ACIP panel on Friday shows that vaccine effectiveness naturally and gradually wanes over time, and with the spread of the delta variant, effectiveness also lowered slightly.

The mRNA vaccines are effective at keeping people out of the hospital and from dying from COVID-19. Research also shows that the Moderna vaccine effectiveness wanes a bit less than the Pfizer vaccine.

With COVID case counts beginning to rise in some parts of the country again, health officials voted to expand booster dose eligibility to everyone in an effort to protect more people ahead of winter and the holidays when people gather indoors more and potentially enter environments where the virus can spread more easily.

To find a booster dose in Washington state, visit the state’s vaccine locator or call (833) VAX-HELP. You can search by type of vaccine to find the booster dose you would like to receive.

Here’s a look at local numbersThe Spokane Regional Health District reported 152 new COVID-19 cases and three additional deaths.

There have been 1,070 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County.

There are 94 patients hospitalized in Spokane with COVID-19.

The Panhandle Health District reported 147 new COVID-19 cases and no additional deaths on Friday.

There are 79 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.

Arielle Dreher's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is primarily funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, with additional support from Report for America and members of the Spokane community. These stories can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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