Essentia Health Prepared to Administer COVID Booster Shot
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday authorizing booster shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for specific populations, Essentia Health is prepared to give the shot to the eligible population.
In a press release, Essentia Health states that people aged 65 and older and residents of long-term-care facilities, people aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions that make them especially susceptible to severe COVID-19, people aged 18-49 with specific medical conditions, based on an assessment of their individual benefits and risks, and people in the 18-64 age group who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission based on their occupational or institutional settings, are all eligible to receive the booster shot.
Essentia Health says by Wednesday, September 29, people, patients or not, will be able to sign up to receive the booster shot on their MyChart patient portal.
“Getting fully vaccinated and following FDA and CDC guidelines for boosters remains the most effective means for preventing hospitalization for COVID-19,” said Dr. Peter Henry, chief medical officer at Essentia. “Most hospitalizations for COVID-19 are in unvaccinated individuals. Reducing COVID hospitalizations improves our ability to have adequate staffing and resources to care for the many other serious illnesses that existed prior to the pandemic, and that have been magnified by patients delaying care for chronic illness during the early stages of the pandemic.”
At the end of Essentia Health’s press release they listed answers to commonly asked questions about the booster shot:
Who is eligible?
Those who completed the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech series at least six months ago and who belong to one of the following groups: people aged 65 and older and residents of long-term-care facilities; people aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions that make them especially susceptible to severe COVID-19; people aged 18-49 with specific medical conditions, based on an assessment of their individual benefits and risks; and people in the 18-64 age group who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission based on their occupational or institutional settings.
Why do I need a booster?
Especially with the delta variant, research shows waning immunity. A booster shot recharges your immune system and fortifies it against the virus. This is similar to receiving annual influenza vaccines.
What’s the difference between a booster shot and a third dose?
The product is the same; the primary difference is the timing of the dose. Third doses of mRNA vaccines for those with compromised immune systems can be given as soon as 28 days after the second dose is administered. Boosters are recommended for six months after the completion of the initial two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech series.
What about individuals who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines?
It’s likely you will need a booster shot of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Those boosters may come later this fall or winter. We are waiting on supporting data and further guidance from the FDA and CDC.
Will there be side effects from these booster shots?
Potential side effects mirror those from the first two shots — site pain, redness or swelling; fatigue; headache; muscle pain; chills; fever; and nausea. It’s important to remember that not everyone experiences side effects.
Does this mean there will always be a need for booster shots?
The CDC will continue to observe future COVID-19 vaccine needs, but it could be similar to influenza vaccines in which annual boosters are recommended. We don’t have enough information at this time to offer a definitive answer.
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