According to the FDA, individuals have to wait six months after receiving their last COVID-19 dose before getting the booster shot.

Last week, booster shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for those ages 65 and older. According to the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD), the booster shots will be available to those in Shenandoah Valley within the next week. The CSHD says it expects a smooth rollout of this third round.

“We have the capacity vaccine-wise, as well as the scale of our clinics as needed, so we definitely do not have any concerns about administration of the booster at all,” Jordi Shelton, the communications specialist at CSHD, said. 

These shots are only recommended for those who are:

  • Aged 65+ or may be living in long-term care facilities.
  • Between the ages of 50-64 with underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk of COVID-19.
  • Between the ages of 18-49 and whose jobs may put them at a higher risk for COVID-19.
  • Between the ages 18-49 and at a higher risk due to underlying medical conditions.

Chey McClure, a freshman pre-nursing major who’s had Type 1 Diabetes for 13 years, said she’ll be getting the shot once it becomes available. She explained that having an autoimmune disorder is dangerous because her immune system can’t protect her as well, and she called it unfair that others can put her at even more risk by not following necessary precautions. 

“Any protection that is offered should be taken up as soon as possible,” McClure said. “It helps us fight off what we could get just because our immune system isn’t as efficient.”

According to the FDA, individuals have to wait six months after receiving their last COVID-19 dose before getting the booster shot. Proof of occupation or medical history isn’t required for the administration of the booster shot. 

Shelton said that if anyone is unsure about their eligibility, they should talk to their medical care provider to work out a proper strategy plan. 

Isis Carter, a freshman nursing major, said underlying health conditions are prevalent in her family, making her anxious for the boosters shots to become available. As she said, “Not everyone is vaccinated, and it’s a big thing for me because my family has a lot of underlying health conditions.” 

She said it’s important that those with underlying medical conditions, like her family, and those who are eldery feel safe in their own communities. 

The booster shot is only FDA-approved for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and Shelton said those who have the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine should wait for further updates on booster shots that may be available in the future. It’s not recommended that those with differing vaccinations from the Pfizer-BioNTech approved booster should take the shot.  

“Pfizer was the first vaccine to be authorized, and therefore, its data on any waiting effectiveness was also available first,” said Shelton. “We are anticipating some more information about Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.”

Contact Emma Swain at swaineg@dukes.jmu.edu. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.