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Health Dept. offering booster shots for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now

by Kate Evans

People that received two Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines at least six months ago are now eligible to receive booster shots of that particular vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine booster shots are now available at county health departments, pharmacies and area physicians’ offices. Pfizer is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized for booster shots by the Federal Drug Administration.

Those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine must wait for a booster to be approved for those brands.

Who’s eligible

Individuals that are eligible or recommended to get the Pfizer vaccine booster shots are:

–People 65 years of age or older and residents in long-term care settings,

— People 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions,

— People 18-49 years old with underlying medical conditions

— People age 18-64 years old who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional setting.

Eligible medical conditions

Adults of any age with the following medical conditions can be more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 and would be eligible for the Pfizer booster shot: cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease including moderate to severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and  heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies and high blood pressure.

Other medical conditions that can put one at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are diabetes, dementia, Down syndrome, HIV infection, a weakened immune system,  liver disease, overweight and obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease or thalassemia, current or former smoker, solid organ or blood stem cell transplant and stroke or cerebrovascular disease.

These would also qualify a person for a Pfizer booster shot.

At increased risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission that would qualify for a booster include healthcare workers, firefighters, police, long-term care facilities staff, school and day care staff, food and agriculture workers, grocery store workers, U.S. Postal Service staff, corrections workers and manufacturing workers.

Pretty much anyone that received a Pfizer vaccine could be eligible for a booster shot if they considered themselves at risk for COVID-19 from their job, said Angie Gray, nurse manager for the Morgan-Berkeley Counties Health Department on Thursday.

Health department

The Morgan County Health Department is now offering Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots  by appointment.

People should call  304-258-1513, Option 1 for Clinical Services, to schedule their appointment.

Leave a brief message with your name and phone number and someone will return your call. Bring a photo I.D and your vaccination card to your appointment, if possible.

Gray said that they’re not holding community clinics for the Pfizer booster vaccines in Morgan County.

There were fewer than 200 people that got the Pfizer vaccines here at early clinics.  The Health Department is scheduling individuals for their booster shots, which they started giving the week of September 27.

Immunocompromised

The Morgan County Health Department is also scheduling first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses and third doses for those who are severely immunocompromised. Specify which vaccine you want to get when calling.

COVID-19 case numbers had come down then shot back up again with 25 new cases on Wednesday, Gray said.  Health officials just got a report of a completely healthy 20-year-old being lost to COVID.

“Every shot we’re putting in someone’s arm is saving someone’s life,” Gray said.

Gray said that Moderna and Pfizer are both approved for  a third dose for those who are immunocompromised.  Those individuals never received as much protection against COVID-19 as they should have with their two vaccine doses.  They can get a third dose 28 days after their second vaccine dose, she noted.

CDC guidelines

The CDC is currently recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals receive an additional/third dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.

This includes people that have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancer of the blood, received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, received a stem cell transplant within the last two years and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, are suffering from moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, advanced or untreated HIV infection or are getting active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune system.

People are advised to talk with their healthcare provider about their medical conditions and whether they should get an additional/third dose of their vaccine.

Other locations

Reed’s Pharmacy in Berkeley Springs is offering the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccine by appointment.  Call 304-258-3800 to schedule getting your booster dose.

Mountaineer Community Health Center is placing people on a waiting list until they have enough individuals  who want to get the Pfizer booster shot so they can order the vaccine. 304-947-5500.

Walgreens does not carry the Pfizer vaccine — only Moderna.

Call your primary care physician’s office to see if they are offering the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccine.

 

 

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