The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will begin offering booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine by appointment at its Mission clinic starting Monday, Oct. 25.
That follows the CDC’s recommendations last week that booster shots of both the Moderna and J&J vaccines start to be made available to eligible individuals. That, in turn, comes after booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine were approved on Sept. 24 by the FDA.
The CDC has also now adopted a new “mix and match” approach to booster doses. That means if an individual has received the initial round of vaccination from of one brand, that individual may receive a booster dose from any brand, including Moderna, Pfizer or J&J.
Currently, CDC data shows 76.7% of Johnson County residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while 65.3% of residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, meaning they have received either the initial two-shot regimen of Moderna or Pfizer or the one shot of J&J.
But health experts say booster doses are beneficial as vaccination efficacy wanes in individuals over time. The booster may also be a valuable resource for older individuals or individuals with underlying health conditions, as the virus remains a critical threat to these demographics.
“If you are eligible for a booster shot or you’re not fully vaccinated, please get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Johnson County health director Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., said in a statement Friday. “We continue to see highly effective protection against hospitalizations, deaths and severe outcomes for people who are fully vaccinated.”
Here are some important things to keep in mind as you consider getting a booster shot:
Who is eligible for a booster?
The following individuals all eligible to receive a booster shot, according to the CDC’s recommendations:
- Anyone 65 years and older
- Anyone 18 or older who lives or works in a long-term care setting
- Anyone 18 and older with underlying medical conditions, including cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes or an immunocompromised state
- Any individual age 18 or older who lives or works in high-risk settings, including first responders, teachers, correctional workers, public transit workers, grocery store workers and postal service workers.
- In addition, anyone 18 and older who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine two or more months ago is now eligible for a booster dose.
Who is NOT eligible for the booster?
- Booster doses are not available to individuals under the age of 18 who have received their initial vaccination round.
- Additionally, children under the age of 12 remain ineligible for any COVID-19 vaccination currently.
Where can I get my booster shot?
- Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will offer booster shots of Moderna and J&J by appointment starting on Monday, Oct. 25, at their Mission clinic located at 6000 Lamar Ave.
- Appointments can be scheduled here.
Where else are booster shots available?
- Booster shots will also be available at various locations within Johnson County including local commercial pharmacies and area grocery stores.
- That includes local HyVee pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens locations, as well as some pharmacies operated by Balls Foods, which include Price Chopper, Hen House and Sun Fresh.
- People are also encouraged to reach out to their primary care provider to enquire about receiving a booster through them.
- Anyone eligible for booster shots can search for vaccine providers near them using vaccines.gov or by texting their ZIP code to 438829 or calling 1-800-232-0233
When should I get a Moderna or Pfizer booster if I qualify?
- The CDC is recommending the Moderna and Pfizer boosters doses are administered at least six months following your second dose.
- Any individual who qualifies for the Moderna or Pfizer booster may immediately begin to get these doses from their health care provider, local pharmacy or any authorized distributor of the vaccines.
- Again, based on the new “mix and match” guidance, individuals can get a different brand booster shot than their initial vaccinations.
What you need to know about Johnson & Johnson booster shot:
- Any individual age 18 and older who received one dose of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine two or more months ago are eligible for a booster dose.
So, “mix and match” means I can get a booster shot of any vaccine?
- Yes, the CDC recommends that booster-eligible person can receive a different dose for their booster than their original vaccination doses.
- Any eligible individual may have the choice of which vaccine they receive as the booster dose.
- Health experts suggest that people get a booster of whatever vaccination is most readily available in their area.
OK, but what if I have questions?
- Anyone with questions about booster shots or residents who are in need of assistance can email JCDHE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Emails are also being answered 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Spanish speakers are available to answer questions via email.
When will young children be eligible for vaccines?
- Children age 5-11 are the only demographic not currently eligible for vaccination, but that could also be changing.
- The FDA has said that the Pfizer vaccine has shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus, and that the benefits of inoculating young children currently outweight the risk.
- Currently, the FDA’s advisory panel of experts is set to vote this week to recommend authorization for vaccination of children age 5 to 11.
- A spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it is in the early stages of preparing for vaccinating young children when they become eligible.