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What you need to know about COVID booster guidelines

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 8:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Thousands more Mississippians are newly eligible to get their COVID booster. And we know there are a lot of questions about that.

Let’s go through the who qualifies and when part first.

The guidelines for Pfizer and Moderna are the same. You need to wait at least six months from your second dose to get boosted. Past that, age and risk come into play.

If you’re 65 and older, you can get a booster. Those over 18 with underlying medical conditions or those who work in high-risk settings are also eligible.

For people 18 and up who got Johnson and Johnson, they’re eligible for a booster at least two months after the first shot. And you can mix and match.

“If you’re eligible for a booster, you can get the booster as a Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, or Moderna,” explained State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “It doesn’t matter what you got before. But you can only do that with the booster. You’re not supposed to mix and match the initial doses.”

And Dr. Laura Miller says that ability could be helpful in a place like Mississippi.

“A lot of people that want to stick with what they know, they didn’t react to or had a problem with,” noted Miller. “And I think that’s completely reasonable. But I think it’s gonna be beneficial to be able to cross mix them. Because in Mississippi, obviously, our population scattered out. We have clinics that have vaccines. We have certain pharmacies that have vaccines and a few other locations. This will make it easier for people to get a booster if they don’t have to necessarily stick to what they got the first time. And anything to increase access to health care in Mississippi is a good thing.”

As for where, here’s what we know.

“Should be able to get it at any place that’s currently giving vaccines,” noted Dr. Paul Byers during Friday’s Mississippi State Medical Association call. “It’s going to be available at physicians’ offices, available at pharmacies; we’ll be rolling out some level of boosters at the county health departments, in addition to Pfizer boosters that we’ve already been giving.”

And be patient if you don’t fit into an eligible category yet — be patient.

You can use vaccines.gov as a starting point for finding where to go for your booster. But remember, these changes are so new that it may be worth placing a quick call before you drive to that pharmacy or clinic.

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