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VDH clarifies who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot

Posted at 2:21 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 16:35:48-04

NORFOLK, Va. - As the Pfizer vaccine is now authorized for booster shots, health officials admit there has been some confusion over who's eligible.

Dr. Danny Avula from the Virginia Dept. of Health tried to clear things up during a Zoom call with Hampton Roads faith leaders on Tuesday morning.

"Because vaccine supply is not a concern, this will really be directed by the individuals, and they will choose whether they want the booster or not," Avula said.

Right now, the FDA has only authorized booster shots for people who are six months past receiving their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Among that group, there are four groups who are eligible: People 65 and older; people 50-64 with underlying health conditions, people 18-50 with underlying conditions who may want to get it, but Avula says they may want to check with their doctors to decide whether that's the best plan for them; and finally, people in high risk careers like health care.

In Virginia, about 700,000 people are eligible, according to Avula.

The FDA has currently not authorized boosters for Moderna shots or Johnson & Johnson, but Avula expects boosters for those vaccines will become available later this fall.

"We're really trying to remove all barriers to get the booster shot. It's completely free just like the other doses have been," Avula said.

Separately, last month the FDA approved third doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for immunocompromised people. No proof of medical history is required when people attend clinics.

"We really should make this as flexible as possible because nobody on the front lines wants to be in the business of checking your medical history or requiring you to bring documentation," said Avula.

Related: State vaccination coordinator discusses booster shot rollout for the Commonwealth

VDH is in the process of once again standing up mass vaccination clinics and says additional clinics could happen this fall at Military Circle Mall.

Click here to view our COVID-19 vaccination guide.