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COVID-19 Boosters Recommended by CDC for High Risk

By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACP, Health Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health

You may have heard that a COVID-19 booster shot is being recommended and are wondering if you are eligible for it and if you should get it.

On Friday, September 24, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) endorsed the recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and for persons in high risk occupational and institutional settings.

People previously vaccinated with Pfizer BioNTech who SHOULD receive a booster include:

  • Age 65 years and older;
  • Long term care residents; and
  • Age 50 through 64 years with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities (including communities of color and others at risk of inequities).

People who MAY CONSIDER receiving a booster based on their individual benefits and risks include:

  • Age 18 through 49 years with underlying medical conditions; and
  • Age 18 through 64 who are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their occupation or institutional setting. The CDC currently defines occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 as: First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff), Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers), Food and agriculture workers, Manufacturing workers, Corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, Public transit workers, Grocery store workers

Why do I need a booster shot?

COVID-19 booster doses are meant to boost immunity that may have waned overtime and are the same dose of vaccine that were given as part of the primary series. Those that should receive a booster dose are at highest risk of hospitalization or death and need to be prioritized for booster doses.

Booster doses can be received at least six months after completion of the initial vaccine series. California is ready to administer boosters to those that are recommended for boosters immediately.

What about those who didn’t get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot?

At this time, CDC is evaluating available data to make recommendations for other populations or people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. We are anticipating these recommendations imminently.

Where do I get a booster shot?

You may obtain your booster shot at local pharmacies and in some instances, through your primary care provider. Please consult with your primary health care provider if you have questions about receiving a booster shot.