VDH Announcement

Virginia Prepared to Provide Pfizer Booster Shots

CDC recommends booster shot for elderly, high risk individuals

Posted

Virginia is willing and prepared to provide Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine boosters to eligible Virginia residents and workers, announced Virginia’s state vaccination coordinator Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH, Friday.

That morning the CDC officially recommended that individuals most at risk for serious complications from COVID-19 receive their COVID-19 booster six months after completing their initial vaccine series. 

The CDC delinated those most at risk as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, especially those over 50 years of age. Those with preexisting health condition and people who work in a high-risk environment are also now eligible. Those are the same people who qualified for initial vaccine before the general population. 

Avula said VDH has added more vaccination site to serve the need. 

"The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has been working with its vaccination partners — pharmacies, healthcare providers, hospitals and other institutions — to prepare for this rollout. We are confident that we will have enough supply, and that access will be widely available."

Avula reassures people the vaccine immunity has no hard expiration date. 

“There is no need to rush to get your booster at six months and one day. VDH will provide information about accessing a booster dose on vaccinate.virginia.gov where you can search for and schedule a booster vaccination appointment.”

CDC offered the following to guide people as to when they should receive their Pfizer boosters:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 50–64 years with (these specific) underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 18–49 years with (these specific) underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

The CDC believes booster shots are increasingly important as a defense against the more potent Delta variant in addition to bolstering immunity from the initial shots that may have decreased over time. 

"With the Delta variant’s dominance as the circulating strain and cases of COVID-19 increasing significantly across the United States, a booster shot will help strengthen protection against severe disease in those populations who are at high-risk for exposure to COVID-19 or the complications from severe disease," said the CDC in release.

"I believe we can best serve the nation’s public health needs by providing booster doses for the elderly, those in long-term care facilities, people with underlying medical conditions, and for adults at high risk of disease from occupational and institutional exposures to COVID-19," said CDC Director, Dr. Walensky.

Only those who initially received the Pfizer vaccine should receive a Pfizer booster. "We will address, with the same sense of urgency, recommendations for the Moderna and J&J vaccines as soon as those data are available," Walensky said. 

The CDC Director said the booster efford will not detract from the nation's most important focus of offering primary vaccinations to the unvaccinated population. 

Avula echoed that sentiment, and emphasized the need for everyone to get their initial vaccinations. 

"VDH’s top priority remains increasing vaccination rates in Virginia because those who are unvaccinated remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19."

Avula reminds Virginians that everyone 12 or older are now eligible for first round vaccinations. 

To find free vaccines nearby, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages.

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