New guidance from CDC says COVID-19 boosters are recommended for most people. Lake Regional Health System takes a closer look at some things you might want to know if you’re weighing your options.
Q: Who is eligible?
A: Boosters are aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the vaccine for people whose immunity has waned over time. People 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible two months after their initial shot. People 18 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are eligible six months after their initial series.
Q: If I qualify, how soon can I get a shot?
A: You can make an appointment now at any of Lake Regional’s seven primary care clinics. It is not necessary to be an established patient with Lake Regional to receive a vaccination appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine itself is provided at no charge. However, there is a vaccine administration charge that will be billed to your insurance, including Medicare, if you are insured. At this time, there is no copay or co-insurance and therefore no out-of-pocket costs. Uninsured patients will have no out-of-pocket costs. Patients should bring their vaccination card to the appointment.
Q. What are the expected side effects from a booster shot?
A. In trials, the side effects of the booster shot were the same as the initial doses of the vaccine. That included things like:
• Pain in the injection area.
• Joint and muscle pain.
Q. Will I still be considered fully vaccinated if I don’t get a booster shot?
A. Yes, for now. The CDC says everyone who has received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is still considered fully vaccinated. That guidance may evolve over time.
Q. Can I mix and match vaccines?
A. Yes. Your booster does not have to be the same as the vaccine you originally received. You can stick with the same vaccine if you want, or you can choose one of the other available vaccines.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccination, visit lakeregional.com/vaccine.