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Health Department to offer COVID-19 Boosters

The Kent County Health Department will begin making Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 booster shots available to eligible individuals on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, at all three KCHD clinic locations. Clinic locations and hours can be found at www.accesskent.com/Health/health_clinics.htm. Appointments can be made by calling (616) 632-7200. You may also use this number to schedule your first dose of vaccine if you have not already had it. KCHD continues to encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in certain populations and for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings. This recommendation only applies to people who originally received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago.

The CDC recommends the following groups SHOULD receive a booster:

  • People 65 years and older.
  • Residents in long-term care settings aged 18 years or older.
  • People aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions.
  • Additionally, the CDC recommends that the following groups MAY receive a booster based on their individual benefits and risks
  • People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions.
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional (residential) setting. This groups includes adults aged 18-64 years who work or reside in settings such as health care, schools, congregant care facilities, correctional facilities, or homeless shelters. This group also includes front line essential workers such as first responders (firefighters, police, and EMS), food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.

After reviewing data in the coming weeks, the CDC is expected to make recommendations about the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 including the Delta variant. However, public health experts are beginning to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease so boosters are now being approved for use in populations that are most vulnerable.

In the meantime, there have been reports about a “third dose” of the COVID vaccine that is now available. The third dose is different than a booster and has been approved by the FDA and recommended by the CDC specifically and exclusively for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. These individuals have a medical condition or are on a medication that limits the strength of their immune systems and, therefore, they may not receive the same level of protection from a regular course of vaccination. People who are immunocompromised may receive a third dose of either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine as soon as 28 days after the second dose. There is no additional dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine currently recommended. More information on who is eligible for a third dose can be found here. Again, the third dose should not be confused with a booster. A vaccine booster is an additional shot that is given to previously vaccinated people as the immunity provided by the original dose(s) has started to decrease over time. A booster is administered to help maintain the level of immunity in the future.

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