Health officials in the D.C. area are on board with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for a second COVID-19 booster shot. And they want residents to know who’s eligible.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia on Wednesday released new guidance in line with the CDC after the Food and Drug Administration authorized extra Pfizer or Moderna shots for anyone 50 or older and for some younger people with severely weakened immune systems.
They said a key factor in the effort is to get ahead of a possible new coronavirus surge.
“We can never really perfectly time when the next wave is, or when someone might encounter infection,” said Dr. Erica Johnson, who sees patients at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. “To be as ready as possible, I think everyone just needs to stay as up to date as possible with their vaccines.”
Here’s what you need to know.
Anyone 50 and older can get the extra dose at least four months after his last vaccination. So can severely immune-compromised patients, such as organ transplant recipients, as young as 12.
Adults can choose either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine for their extra shot, but Pfizer is the only option for children.
If you received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot, you’re already eligible for a booster of any kind — and the CDC recommends only some of them get a second.
A new study found a Moderna or Pfizer second shot was superior to getting a second J & dose, according to The Associated Press. So the advice is anyone who got a second J & shot now can choose a Moderna or Pfizer dose.
But if they already had one of those other boosters, the CDC says only those who meet the newest criteria — age or weak immune system — qualify for another.
Where to get the 2nd booster
For D.C. residents:
- Visit a walk-up vaccine clinic or COVID Center. Hours and locations are at coronavirus.dc.gov.
- Make an at-home vaccination appointment by calling 1-855-363-0333.
- Make an appointment with your health care provider.
- Find other opportunities to get vaccinated by visiting vaccines.gov.
For Maryland residents:
Maryland has a short form online at coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine to determine if you’re up for a booster. There’s also an interactive map to find a vaccination site.
And you can call 855-MD-GoVAX (855-634-6829).
For Virginia residents:
The Virginia Department of Health said Wednesday that approximately 1 million Virginians are now eligible for a second booster. And if you want one, they’re available.
To find free vaccination opportunities near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 711).
“VDH welcomes CDC’s updated guidance. This is not a blanket recommendation for everyone. Members of the general population who are staying up-to-date on their vaccine remain well protected from severe disease without a second booster,” said Christy Gray, Virginia’s state vaccination coordinator and director of the Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Immunization.
“We want to provide the public with information so they can consult with their health care provider to make an informed choice to address their own level of personal risk. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen that the older you are or if you’re moderately or severely immunocompromised, the more you are at risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death if you contract COVID-19,” said Gray.
“There is ample supply of vaccine available in the state to ensure everyone eligible for a second booster will be able to get one.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.