Booster shots have been OK'd for all three COVID vaccines. Who can get one and where can you go in Austin?
If you got a COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year, it might be time to get a booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has authorized booster shots for all three COVID-19 vaccines approved in the U.S.
These additional shots provide extra protection from COVID-19 and its variants, and health officials strongly encourage people to get them once they’re eligible.
“Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low. Just as we have been urging masking, getting vaccinated and getting tested if you are sick, we are urging the public to stay current with their boosters,” Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a press release. “If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community.”
So, who can get one right now?
People who got the two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are eligible for a booster shot if they are in one of these groups:
- 65 years old or older
- 18 or older and living in a long-term care setting
- 18 or older with an underlying medical condition
- 18 or older and working or living in high-risk settings
These people can get the booster six months or more after they got their second dose.
People who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine can get a booster shot if they are 18 or older and got vaccinated two or more months ago.
Can you mix-and-match the type of vaccine?
If you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can choose which type of vaccine you want for the booster. So, for example, if you got Pfizer for your first two doses, you could get a Moderna or J&J booster. Or, if you got J&J for your first shot, you could get a Pfizer or Moderna booster.
Previously, it was recommended people get the same type of vaccine they already received. But now the CDC says:
“Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster.”
Health officials ask people to bring their COVID-19 vaccination card with them showing their original doses when going to get a booster.
I’m eligible. Where can I get a booster shot?
Unlike at the start of the vaccine rollout, COVID vaccines are now widely available. According to the nationwide vaccine locator Vaccines.gov, you should be able to get a booster shot at any place that provides COVID-19 vaccines.
For example, you can get a COVID-19 booster shot from Austin Public Health by scheduling an appointment online or by going to one of its walk-up clinics. APH offers only Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. The agency says you should bring your COVID-19 vaccination card so it can be updated.
Travis County is also offering booster shots at its weekly vaccine events. No appointment is required.