The Delaware Division of Public Health on Friday said that vaccine provided can begin giving booster shots for all three brands of vaccines, and that the brands can be mixed.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week said OK to booster shots for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine received the authorization last month.
Following the FDA recommendations, Public Health also aid that any of the three authorized vaccines can be given to those eligible for boosters in a mix and match approach, meaning that a person doesn’t have to have the same brand for a booster that they did for the first go-round.
Those eligible for booster shots six months or more after their initial series include:
- People 65 years and older.
- People aged 18 and older who live in long-term care settings
- People 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions, which include but are not limited to: cancer, chronic heart, lung and kidney diseases, dementia, diabetes, down syndrome, HIV, overweight and obesity, pregnancy, organ transplants, and stroke.
- People 18 and older who work or live in high-risk settings, including health care workers, teachers and daycare staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others.
For individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.
For convenience, eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose.
According to CDC, while data show vaccines remain effective in preventing hospitalization and severe disease, a booster shot will help provide continued protection against severe disease in these populations who are especially at risk for severe COVID-19, the press release said,
Public Health is encouraging individuals in these most at-risk categories to seek booster vaccines first.
“Today’s announcement is great news in the fight against COVID-19. Not surprisingly, we have seen signs that the vaccine wanes over time and getting a booster is key to increasing protection against severe disease and death,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of Pubic Health. “Now is not the time to take our foot off the pedal. Those who are eligible should get their booster, and those who are not yet vaccinated should make this their number one priority.”
In addition, Delawareans who have certain immunocompromising conditions, including those who have received organ or stem cell transplants, are undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer, or who are taking medication that suppresses the immune system, are currently eligible to receive an additional dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, if they completed their second dose at least 28 days prior.
Public Health encourages providers to use their clinical judgment and to consider additional factors for their patients when determining if the person meets the qualifications for immunocompromised status and is eligible for an additional/third dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
That may include assessing patients who reside in a long-term care facility or patients of advanced age (especially those over age 85).
Members of the public who are eligible for a booster shot are recommended to seek vaccine at existing vaccine sites, including pharmacies, health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients), and standing DPH Vaccine sites:
- Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901
- Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947
- Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805
- University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702
For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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