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When could COVID-19 vaccine boosters be available?

US likely to authorize COVID-19 booster shots

U.S. health authorities are expected to recommend an extra COVID-19 vaccine dose for Americans eight months after they get their second shot.
U.S. health authorities are expected to recommend an extra COVID-19 vaccine dose for Americans eight months after they get their second shot.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – U.S. health authorities are expected to recommend an extra COVID-19 vaccine dose for Americans eight months after they get their second shot.

Booster shots would only begin to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines, which are being dispensed for now under what is known as emergency use authorization. Full approval of the Pfizer shot is expected in the coming weeks.

If you got the vaccine early on, your eight-month mark is quickly approaching.

News4Jax on Tuesday talked with Maureen Moore. She’s a retired nurse who, in December, was working as a contact tracer for the Department of Health. That’s when she got her first vaccine.

“When we started back in December, we really didn’t know how long the vaccine would last, whether or not boosters would be needed like the annual flu shots,” Moore said. “So I started my journey in December when the Department of Health offered them to the staff.”

Moore said her eight months since she was fully immunized will be up in late September.

“I have thought for a while that a booster was probably going to be necessary. I know there’s been a lot on the news about it, and I’m ready. When they say go get it, I’m going to go get it,” Moore said.

News4Jax reached out to local and state agencies about how they’re preparing for this -- in case there’s a big demand.

The Duval County health department said: “We have a good amount of vaccine and will follow FDA EUA guidelines. There is also plenty of vaccine available in the community from other sources such as healthcare providers and pharmacy providers.”

The city of Jacksonville told News4Jax it’s awaiting guidance from the state.

“As we have done throughout the last year and a half, we stand ready to support the state in their efforts,” the city said.

Dr. Mohammed Reza, a local infectious disease specialist, said a lot of this data is coming from Israel, which started administering boosters to some patients five months ago.

“As time goes on, the protection from these vaccines such as Moderna, Pfizer and possibly even Johnson and Johnson may wane over time. That’s what we’re seeing from the Israeli data,” Reza said.

But there is some pushback from patients not looking for another shot.

While much of this is pointing toward the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for an eight-month booster, there’s less clarity on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which only received approval in the U.S. in late February. Health officials are still trying to determine when those boosters should be recommended.


About the Author:

Specializes in Clay County issues, general assignment reporting and stories off the beaten path and anchors weekend evening newscasts.