Mel Pardock – Staff Writer
As more and more Americans become vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that protection provided by vaccination weakens as time passes and is less likely to work against the Delta variant on its own. With these boosters and improved immune response, people will become even less susceptible to COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
“Data from a small clinical trial show that a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished their primary series 6 months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant,” the CDC said.
Similar to how vaccine rollout began in late 2020, there are limited groups of people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that have access to booster shots at this time. These groups of people include individuals over 18 with medical conditions, long-term setting residents 18 and older, and those whose home lives or jobs will entail increased exposure to COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, educators, USPS employees, corrections workers, and more.
“People aged 18–64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside,” the CDC said.
At this time, you are unable to get a booster vaccine unless you received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination and are included in one of the groups the CDC recommended the booster for. However, as more studies are concluded and more data becomes available, boosters may become available for more people who need and want them.
The CDC also answered some commonly asked questions regarding boosters. One is still considered fully vaccinated even if they do not receive the booster, the need for boosters does not mean vaccines are not working – they are to prevent severe illnesses and hospitalizations that could occur due to decreased protection, and the risks associated with boosters are similar to those associated with the two-shot vaccination series with severe adverse reactions being possible, but rare. In addition to this, basic COVID-19 protection precautions must still be taken once you receive a booster.
If you are a recipient of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is a part of one of the aforementioned groups of people who can get a booster and would like one, check your local pharmacy’s website to see if appointments or walk-in vaccinations are available, and check your local or state health department for more information regarding boosters. All data mentioned in this article was found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, CDC.gov.