(Trends Wide Español) — Booster doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can now be officially administered in the United States, but only certain adults are authorized to receive it.
After several days of debate, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the application of a booster dose for a larger group of people and also recommended the dose of reinforcement for those in high-risk work settings and institutions.
With the delta variant dominating in the United States, the CDC believes that the booster dose could help strengthen protection against serious diseases in populations that are at high risk of exposure or complications from Covid-19.
Many of the people now eligible to receive the booster dose were the first to receive the vaccine early in the initial vaccination program. However, these recommendations only apply to people who previously received both doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Eligibility to receive the booster dose
The CDC indicates that these people “should” receive the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after they have been fully immunized with two injections:
- People 65 and older, and residents in long-term care settings.
- People ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.
And “if possible” the following groups of people could receive the COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after having been fully immunized with two injections:
- People ages 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefits and risks.
- People aged 18 to 64 who are at increased risk of exposure and transmission of COVID-19 due to their work or institutional environment. For example: health workers, educational personnel, caregivers of the fragile or immunosuppressed, people in homeless shelters, people in correctional facilities, among others.
Who are more likely to get sick
The CDC states that people with certain medical conditions are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19, making them eligible for the COVID-19 booster dose. The CDC lists the following medical conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic lung diseases, such as: COPD, asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
- Dementia or other neurological conditions.
- Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as: heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, or hypertension.
- Immunosuppressed people
- Liver disease
- Overweight and obesity
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Tobacco use, current or past
- Solid Organ or Blood Stem Cell Transplantation
- Strokes or cerebrovascular diseases, which affect blood flow to the brain
- Substance use disorders
What if I received the vaccine from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson?
According to the CDC, people who received the vaccine from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson will likely need a booster shot. However, at the moment they continue to wait for more data on the efficacy and safety of the booster doses produced by these pharmaceutical companies.
Moderna has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize booster injections for its vaccine, but so far the FDA has only considered Pfizer’s offer. Johnson & Johnson released partial data this week indicating that a booster dose greatly increased immunity, but the company has not yet asked the FDA to consider a booster dose.