RICHMOND, Va. -- An estimated 2.19 million Virginians are now eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot Friday after the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on a recommendation to allow them for some Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) recipients.
Those who have received a Moderna vaccine can get a booster shot six months after the initial two-dose regimen if they are 65-years-old or older. Those who are 18-years-old or older are also eligible if they have an underlying health condition or live or work in a setting that puts them at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
Any J&J recipient aged 18 or older can receive a booster shot two months after the initial single shot dose.
The CDC is also allowing those people to pick a different vaccine for the booster shot than they initially received.
At Hope Pharmacy, owner Dr. Shantelle Brown said the majority of patients she had come in on Friday were there for their booster shots.
"We've added more appointments and times specific for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson," Brown said in response to the increased demand. She said she has been talking with customers about the various factors
“VDH has been working with our vaccination partners — pharmacies, healthcare providers, hospitals and other institutions — to prepare for the booster rollout. In addition to these vaccination partners, Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) are strategically located across the Commonwealth to ensure Virginians will be able to access a booster dose when it’s recommended. The move by the CDC to allow vaccine recipients to ‘mix and match’ vaccines for their boosters gives Virginians another level of choice in protecting themselves from COVID-19," said Virginia State Vaccine Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula. “If you decide to get a booster dose by mixing and matching, VDH urges you to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider who can assist you in making the best decision for your own situation. We also stress that all three vaccines authorized for administration in the United States are highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.”
Avula said the NIH study that guided the decision to allow "mix-and-match" showed that doing so produced a good antibody response, the study was not designed to compare one type of booster versus another.
"And so, I think we will see that data come. We're waiting on some more information from the CDC right now," said Avula. "They're going to be coming out with clinical considerations either sometime this weekend or early next week. So, as of right now, we don't have a great answer for that. What we do know is that all of the boosters do produce a boost of neutralizing antibodies -- which is the goal here. And so, if people are eligible and they're eager to go get that booster shot, they can start doing that today."
Avula, who received the J&J vaccine, said he is planning to get a booster shot, but is waiting for the clinical guidance to be released to see if it makes clearer recommendations. If it does not, he said he would get whatever is most convenient.
Virginians age 12+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.