Who Qualifies for COVID-19 Booster Shots? The CDC Approved Them for These 4 Groups

Who Qualifies for COVID-19 Booster Shots? The CDC Approved Them for These 4 Groups

by Sue Jones
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Some of the most compelling evidence for the use of COVID-19 booster shots that ACIP saw yesterday was for older populations, many of whom were prioritized during the initial vaccine rollout phase and are generally at a higher risk for severe complications from the virus. The panel weighed the potential benefits and risks of administering third doses to other age groups (including the risk for myocarditis, which is most likely to affect young men), underlying medical conditions, and certain occupational risk factors that make them more likely to be exposed to the virus (especially with the highly transmissible delta variant now dominant in the country). 

The panel also discussed the potential value of booster shots for health care employees and other essential workers. In areas of the country where COVID-19 transmission is especially high and the population is less likely to be vaccinated, some ACIP panelists argued that booster shots may help keep those facilities and businesses well-staffed and their employees’ morale up.

But the truth is that booster doses are still a controversial topic in the U.S. right now. Some experts (including the World Health Organization) argue that we shouldn’t be administering additional doses of the vaccines while so much of the world hasn’t had access to the initial shots. And, according to the data presented to ACIP, the potential value of booster doses is much higher for specific groups, specifically the elderly and immunocompromised, than it is for the general public—even among those with underlying conditions.

Now, with the CDC and FDA recommendations, many people in the U.S. are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. If you fall into one of the above categories and are interested in whether or not getting an additional dose is the right choice for you, talk to your health care provider about the potential risks and benefits of the shots. And remember that for the vast majority of us, the initial COVID-19 vaccine doses still provide significant protection against hospitalization and death due to the virus. Along with other public health strategies, such as wearing a mask indoors and avoiding crowds, getting the initial COVID-19 vaccine doses is the most effective method we have of containing the pandemic.

Related:

  • Here’s Why There’s So Much Controversy Over COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots Right Now
  • The FDA Authorized Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shots for Some People
  • Dr. Fauci Says Some People Will ‘Inevitably’ Need COVID-19 Booster Shots

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