Cook County health officials announced Monday that all adults will be allowed to receive COVID-19 booster injections as the county prepares to ramp up its fight against the global pandemic amid concerns about a rise in cases.
“Knowing that vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic, and knowing that booster doses amplify our ability to fight COVID-19, we wholeheartedly encourage people to get a booster shot as soon as possible,” Rachel Rubin, co-lead and senior medical officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health, in a statement. “We must stop the transmission of the virus.”
The Cook County announcement takes things a step further with the comments from Chicago’s top doctor.
Last week, Dr. Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner Allison Arwady said Chicago residents over the age of 18 will not be turned away from getting booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine, as health officials report “adequate availability.”
“You won’t be turned down for a booster if you’re over 18,” Arwady said in a Facebook Live event. “We have plenty of availability here.”
Arwady noted that those who want to receive a third vaccine shot should be six months away from the second dose of their Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. For those who initially received Johnson & Johnson, the waiting period is two months.
“We strongly recommend that anyone over the age of 65 get a booster,” Arwady said. “We strongly recommend that anyone over the age of 50 with an underlying condition of any kind receive a booster.”
“For people who do not have underlying conditions or who are younger, boosters are available and recommended for anyone over the age of 18 with an underlying condition or who is working or living or in a potentially higher risk environment,” she says. added.
Anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their first dose is also encouraged to get a booster shot, she said. Arwady said she recommends a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as an additional dose, but the Johnson & Johnson injection will still provide protection.
While all three vaccines used in the US continue to provide strong protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19, the effectiveness of the injections against milder infections may diminish over time.
The Biden administration had initially envisioned boosters for all adults, but faced a painful setback in September when the FDA’s scientific advisers rejected additional doses of Pfizer for everyone. The panel was not convinced that young healthy people needed another dose, especially when most of the world’s population is unvaccinated, and instead recommended boosters only for certain groups – one of a series of decisions on additional doses for all. three vaccines used in the US
The current rules: People who initially received Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations will be eligible for a booster six months later if they are 65 years of age or older, or are at high risk for COVID-19 due to health problems or their employment. or living conditions. Because the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not proven as effective as its two-dose competitors, any J&J recipient can receive a booster at least two months later.
Also, anyone who is eligible for a booster does not have to stick to their original vaccination type and can get a vaccine from another company, which is called mixing and matching.
About 194 million Americans are fully vaccinated. Under current policies, authorities already estimate that about 2 out of every 3 adults vaccinated could qualify for a booster in the coming months. Many who do not meet the criteria often score an extra chance because many vaccine providers do not check the qualifications.