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Am I eligible for a COVID booster? Northland health experts address growing confusion

Pharmacist at Essentia Health, Roseann Heines, said the public should become familiar with...
Pharmacist at Essentia Health, Roseann Heines, said the public should become familiar with booster guidelines as additional doses become more readily available.(KBJR/CBS)
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:29 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Pharmacist at Essentia Health, Roseann Heines, said the public should become familiar with booster guidelines as additional doses become more readily available.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to potentially anticipate something like the flu shot where we have to get it annually based on that virus transformation if you will,” Heines said.

Heines said when she administers boosters, most are confused deciphering the difference between the third dose for immunocompromised individuals and a booster for others that qualify.

For example, Moderna’s booster is half the dose of the original, while immunocompromised individuals receive a full third dose.

Heines added the dosages and eligibility depend on the results of ongoing federal trials and testing.

Dr. Andrew Thompson of St. Lukes said boosters are necessary to refresh the immune system.

“We know that the initial vaccine series is still really effective against severe disease, hospitalization but its not quite as good against any symptomatic disease, so that’s the reason for boosters,” Heines said.

The main message from both officials is to trust the data and say its properties and effectiveness are nothing to question.

They said if you become eligible for any booster, take advantage of it.

“The CDC, ACIP, and the FDA have been following the data really closely and so that booster really does help protect you from variants and any sort of waning immunity that you have, so it’s really important when you have access to those products that you get the booster,” Heines said.

Tuesday, Pfizer announced it’s now seeking FDA approval for all adults to be eligible for their own booster.

Mixing and matching boosters is also an option.

For current eligibility information for booster shots, you can visit the CDC’s website.

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