Federal health officials have announced a plan to provide booster shots to those people who have received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement comes as the Delta variant continues to spread and scientific data indicates that the vaccines’ effectiveness against the virus decreases over time.
“The need for a booster COVID-19 vaccine for everyone is not unusual,” said Loudoun County Health Director Dr. David Goodfriend. “Boosters are needed with many types of vaccines; it’s not any different than getting a tetanus booster every 10 years.”
The proposed plan calls for people to get their third dose eight months after receiving their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Details about the rollout of the booster shots are still to come and may change pending a formal recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); however, officials say the doses could begin the week of September 20, 2021. Officials say they also expect to recommend a booster for those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine after they analyze more data.
COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are expected to be exactly the same as the initial vaccine doses a person received and so will be available from many providers throughout the community currently providing COVID-19 vaccine, such as medical offices and pharmacies including, but not limited to, CVS, Giant Food, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart and Wegmans. It’s expected that the first people to receive the boosters will be those in high-priority groups such as nursing home residents, health workers and those with underlying health conditions as they were the first groups eligible to receive vaccination last winter.
The announcement of a recommended booster dose for the general population follows last week’s recommendation from the CDC of an additional dose of vaccine for people who received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and who are moderately and severely immunocompromised.
The Loudoun County Health Department strongly urges anyone 12 and older who has not yet been vaccinated to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. “People who have not been fully vaccinated remain at risk from severe outcomes from this disease,” said Dr. Goodfriend. “Virtually all current COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated.”
Visit loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine to find a vaccine provider near you.
In addition to vaccination, to help curb the increase in COVID-19 cases that Loudoun County has been experiencing, the Health Department recommends that everyone:
- Wear a mask in indoor public settings
- Stay 6 feet away from people who do not live in your household
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Wash your hands frequently
- Stay home when sick;
- Avoid contact with sick people;
- Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19; and
- Get tested if you’re symptomatic, or if potentially exposed to COVID-19, regardless of your vaccination status.
Comprehensive information about COVID-19 is online at loudoun.gov/coronavirus.
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