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September 23, 2021 11:48 AM

Who Is Eligible for Third Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines?

(September 23, 2021) – Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster shots for people over 65 who have received Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to get a booster shot at least six months after their second dose.

The FDA also authorized booster shots for adult Pfizer-BioNTech recipients who are at risk of serious complications from the disease due to frequent exposure to the coronavirus at their jobs such as frontline healthcare workers. Last month, the FDA authorized the emergency use of a third dose of Pfizer for immunocompromised Pfizer and Moderna recipients.

On Friday, September 17, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee unanimously recommended that the FDA grant Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of a third Pfizer dose for select recipients only, initiating the authorization process.

Moderna has not reported waning immunity after the two-dose series though additional information is anticipated to be submitted in the coming months.

“The FDA and their advisory group (ACIP) continue to monitor data regarding breakthrough COVID-19 cases in vaccinated people,” said County Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Grundy. “We have seen a small percentage of fully vaccinated older or immunocompromised people being hospitalized or dying due to breakthrough infections, which, while rare, is concerning. This is what is informing the FDA’s decision surrounding booster eligibility at this time.”

Current recommendations for vaccine booster shots based on vaccine type are as follows:

Moderna – third dose authorized for immunocompromised individuals only.
Pfizer – third dose authorized for immunocompromised individuals, people 65 or older and frontline healthcare workers.
Johnson & Johnson – no additional dose authorized at this time. Updates are expected in the coming months.

San Miguel County Public Health and local medical centers began administering third doses of Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines in August. All individuals eligible for a third dose should receive the same vaccine as their first shot series – mixing vaccines is strongly discouraged. Eligibility is determined by the patient’s personal indication and does not require proof of preexisting conditions.

“The pandemic has always evolved quickly. Things will continue to change as these three pharmaceutical companies present data to the FDA and ACIP,” said Dr. Grundy. “Even with a vaccine, our older population and those with underlying medical conditions should continue to be smart about their interactions.”
San Miguel County Public Health will be hosting Pfizer and Moderna vaccine clinics for first, second and third doses today and tomorrow:

Moderna – Ages 18 and older
Thursday, September 23 – Norwood Public Library – 2 to 2:30 pm
Friday, September 24 – Telluride Intermediate School Gym – 5:00 to 5:30 pm

Pfizer (Comirnaty) – Ages 12 and older
Thursday, September 23 – Norwood Public Library – 3:30 to 4:30 pm
Friday, September 24 – Telluride Intermediate School Gym – 3:30 to 4:45 pm

Registration is available on the County COVID Webpage, for English and for Spanish. Walk-ins are also welcome without appointment. Vaccines are completely free and do not require proof of identity.
“Vaccines remain our strongest defense against the most severe outcomes of COVID-19,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “We will continue to act nimbly to provide the most accurate recommendations as new data is presented.”

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