Press "Enter" to skip to content

COVID vaccine boosters: Pharmacies are offering third shots — but only for some

CVS, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco and Walgreens are among the many large U.S. pharmacy chains that this week began offering third shots for individuals who already acquired their two COVID-19 vaccinations. But only individuals who are severely to reasonably immunocompromised can get the extra shots to this point, in accordance with the businesses.

The pharmacies mentioned they are following the steerage of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which on Friday mentioned that transplant recipients and others with severely weakened immune techniques can get an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Under that guideline, about 10 million folks within the U.S. could qualify for the extra shots now, with roughly 3% of Americans estimated to be immunocompromised.

That means most individuals might want to wait to get an extra shot amid a surge in COVID-19 instances linked to the extremely contagious Delta variant. CVS and Walgreens say they are making ready to manage vaccine boosters to the broader public as soon as they are permitted by the the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 1 in 4 individuals who have heard about booster shots are anxious about waning vaccine safety, the Kaiser Family Foundation found in a current survey.

On Wednesday, high well being and medical consultants from the Department of Health and Human Services mentioned the booster shots could begin the week of September 20 for individuals who acquired their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines eight months prior. 

Here’s what to know concerning the further shots to this point. 

What’s the distinction between an extra shot and a booster shot? 

Not a lot, because the doses are the identical, according to University of Chicago affiliate professor Emily Landon. 

The  only distinction is terminology. A “booster” refers to an additional dose for folks whose immune techniques responded nicely to the preliminary vaccines but would possibly face waning efficacy as time goes on. An “additional dose,” in the meantime, refers back to the third shot given to individuals who are immunocompromised and whose immune techniques may not have optimally responded to the primary two doses, Landon defined. 

Who can get an extra shot proper now?

Only individuals who are severely to reasonably immunocompromised. 

According to the CDC, that features individuals who are at the moment being handled for most cancers; have acquired an organ transplant or are taking immune suppression drugs; acquired a stem cell transplant within the final two years; have a extreme main immunodeficiency; have superior or untreated HIV infections; or are taking high-dose corticosteroids or different medicine that suppress the immune system. 

How can I guide a third shot?

Many of the pharmacies say eligible folks can both guide an appointment on-line or just stroll in for their third shot. 

A Walgreens spokesperson mentioned that same-day appointments are accessible on a walk-in foundation at some of its places for eligible folks. CVS can be offering walk-in appointments (which additionally could also be scheduled online.) Hy-Vee mentioned folks can both stroll in or schedule an appointment, whereas Jewel-Osco is also accepting both walk-ins or scheduled appointments.

What do folks must deliver? 

Pharmacies are recommending that folks deliver their COVID-19 vaccination file card, but you might also wish to test whether or not your pharmacy requires further paperwork. Hy-Vee, for occasion, recommends that folks deliver their insurance coverage or Medicare playing cards, in addition to picture IDs. 

Do you want proof of being immunocompromised?

Pharmacies and state well being departments say that folks ought to be ready to self-attest that they are immunocompromised, following federal tips. 

“According to the CDC, individuals will need to self-attest that they are severely to moderately immunocompromised but do not need to show proof of their condition,” Hy-Vee mentioned in an announcement.

What does it price?

The third doses are free, both coated by insurance policy or by a federal program for the uninsured, in accordance with the pharmacies.

What about individuals who aren’t immunocompromised?

The pharmacy chains say they are not offering booster shots to individuals who aren’t immunocompromised, but plan to be prepared as soon as federal regulators give the inexperienced gentle, which is anticipated in mid- to late-September. 

“We will continue to follow guidance from the FDA and CDC to administer vaccines to eligible populations and feel confident we have the pharmacy expertise, infrastructure and local community presence to accelerate access to these vaccinations,” Walgreens mentioned in its assertion.