LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A Center for Disease Control and Prevention panel of outside experts voted Thursday to allow use of booster shots for some adults first vaccinated with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago.
“Being 65 and having some medical issues, we both decided to get the booster with virtually no side effects, by the way,” Stuart Siegel said of himself and his wife.
The primary reason for booster is to elevate levels of immunity six months after the second shot of Pfizer’s vaccine.
Booster-eligible adults include those over the age of 65 and people 18-64 who are are at high risk for severe illness. At this time, the CDC is not recommending that workers at high risk of developing severe illness get the booster.
“Why is that? They looked at the data again, specifically from the original group of individuals, as well as real life experiences here in the U.S….as well as Israel and Great Britain, and they are seeing a decline in original protection against getting infected,” said Dr. Jose Mayorga, with the University of California, Irvine, Health Family Medicine.
The state estimates that more than 6 million seniors will be eligible for the booster and many of those received Pfizer initially, though Dr. Mayorga doesn’t expect to see long lines and waits like last summer.
“A lot of organizations have the vaccine available,” he said.
Cynde Willis, who has rheumatoid arthritis, said the Delta variant is what made her go and get a third Moderna shot over the summer. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a Moderna booster, but did approve a third shot for those who are immuno-compromised.
“So, I’ve been able to have a few visitors now. I’ve seen, like, my sisters and seen the few people. Whereas before I got the third shot, I had been on total lockdown. So, that’s been great,” Willis said.
According to experts, the need for a booster does not mean the vaccine isn’t working. It is still highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and death. However, the addition of booster will lower the rate of transmission of COVID-19.
While this recommendation is only for the Pfizer vaccine, experts said they expect boosters with the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines will be forthcoming.