COVID-19 booster shots are now available locally to select individuals who received their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago.

The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use authorization last week for boosters of the Pfizer vaccine because of recent scientific evidence that immunity from the first round of doses starts waning at around six months, said Dr. Colin Greene, director of the Lord Fairfax Health District.

Anyone who would like a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster shot should make an appointment at a physician’s office or anywhere else offering vaccines, Greene said. They should bring their vaccine card. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends booster shots for people age 65 and old and those who are 16 and older who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and having more severe complications from the virus. People at higher risk include anyone living in a long-term care facility as well as people who have a chronic medical condition that weakens the immune system, such as cancer, diabetes, lung disease or heart disease, or anyone with a substance abuse problem. People with a profession that is more likely to expose them to illness are also eligible to get the Pfizer booster shot.

Although these high-risk groups are specific, Greene said they still contain a good bit of the U.S. population.

“One of the chronic disease groups are either people who are overweight or obese,” Greene said. “Anyone with BMI greater than 25, which is probably over half of the adult population of the United States.”

Greene said the boosters are not yet proven necessary for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Additionally, Greene said that anyone who is immunocompromised can receive a third dose of the vaccine as early as four weeks after their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine.

The flu shot is also safe to receive during the same appointment.

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