clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

COVID-19 booster shots are approved for millions of Americans. Here’s what you need to know

‘Hard to acknowledge I’m over 65, but I’ll be getting my booster shot,’ President Joe Biden said on Friday

A COVID-19 vaccination is administered at a Salt Lake County Health Department mobile health center at Rose Park Elementary in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. The CDC has approved COVID-19 booster shots for millions of Americans.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed COVID-19 booster shots for millions of Americans, CBS News reported.

The move comes shortly after the Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for certain groups of people, according to the Deseret News.

Who can get a COVID-19 booster shot?

On Thursday, the CDC endorsed recommendations that booster shots be offered to the following groups:

  • People ages 65 and older.
  • Residents at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
  • People between the ages of 50 and 64 who are at risk with underlying health conditions.
  • People between the ages of 18 and 49 with underlying medical conditions “may receive a booster shot ... based on their individual benefits and risks,” the CDC said in a statement.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also made an additional recommendation that the panel of CDC advisers had previously rejected. The panel had voted against the recommendation that people can receive a booster shot if they are between the ages of 18 and 64 and have a job that puts them at greater risk of being exposed to the virus, including teachers and frontline medical workers, according to Fox News.

Several hours after the panel adjourned, Walensky said she reinstated that recommendation.

  • “As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” Walensky said in a statement, according to CBS News. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”

When can you get a COVID-19 booster shot?

The extra dose of the vaccine can be administered once a person is at least six months removed from their last Pfizer shot, according to CBS News. This paves the way for millions of Americans to receive a booster shot, The Washington Post reported.

On Friday, President Joe Biden encouraged Americans who are eligible for Pfizer’s booster shot to get a third shot “now,” adding that he would be getting one, CNN reported.

  • “Hard to acknowledge I’m over 65, but I’ll be getting my booster shot,” Biden said, according to CNN.

With CDC approval, the shots are expected to be immediately accessible, available at places where the Pfizer vaccine is already being administered, according to The Washington Post.

What about Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots?

Currently, only Pfizer booster shots are available.

In his address from the White House on Friday, Biden noted that people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines still have “a high degree of protection,” CNN reported.

  • “Our doctors and scientists are working day and night to analyze the data from those two organizations on whether and when you need a booster shot, and we’ll provide updates for you as the process moves ahead,” Biden said.
  • “Again, the bottom line is if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re highly protected from severe illness, even if you get COVID-19,” he added.