COVID-19 booster eligibility expanded, where to get booster shots in Central Pa.

Investigators

(WHTM) — Millions more Americans can now get COVID booster shots after the CDC gave the green light late Thursday night, Oct. 21. Some places in the Midstate are already offering the boosters.

The other big news? People don’t have to stick with the same brand of shot they got the first time.

“I think boosters are important, especially for people who are older to prevent severe disease, but for all of us to prevent breakthrough infections which can drive the pandemic,” Dr. John D. Goldman, infectious disease specialist at UPMC Pinnacle Health, said.

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abc27 investigators asked Dr. Goldman about the CDC saying it is safe to mix vaccines.

“There appears to be no increase in side effects reactions if you get a third dose of a different vaccine. Obviously, we’ll get more data if this works better mixing and matching, but there really doesn’t appear to be any danger to that,” Dr. Goldman said.

One important thing to note — there are still restrictions on who can get the boosters right now. For Moderna or Pfizer, individuals must be six months past their second vaccination dose and either be 65 or older in a long-term care facility, have underlying conditions, or work or live in high-risk settings.

For those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster is recommended for everyone at least two months after their vaccination because it has not yet proven to be quite as protective as the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA shots.

So where can eligible individuals get their booster shots locally?

Penn State Health says it will be ready to give Moderna boosters immediately once the CDC issues formal guidance. WellSpan Health says scheduling could open as soon as Monday, Oct. 25. CVS says Moderna boosters are available at more than 9,800 locations beginning Friday, Oct. 22.

Rite Aid tells abc27 that Moderna boosters would be immediately available. Johnson & Johnson booster doses will be available at select stores depending on the supply.

Wegmans, GIANT, and Weis markets are also ready to offer booster shots, but some require scheduling an appointment first.

More information about vaccinations for kids could be released next week. An FDA panel is expected to discuss it, and the CDC will have the final say.

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