MORGANTOWN — COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available to select populations across the United States, and several locations in the Morgantown and surrounding area are available to distribute it to those eligible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the booster shot is available to certain groups who received the first two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago. Eligible groups as of Friday include:
- 65 years and older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Age 18+ who work in high-risk settings
- Age 18+ who live in high-risk settings
The CDC defines those at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure as frontline, essential workers and health care workers, including first responders, education staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service employees, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.
“For the elderly and for those patients who are immunocompromised who could suffer really bad effects from COVID, it’s important to maintain a high level of immunity, which the booster will produce,” said Todd Karpinski, WVU Medicine chief pharmacy officer. “For those individuals with a lot of occupational exposures, such as those individuals that are caring for COVID patients in the hospital setting, it just gives them a further immunity to try to prevent them from acquiring the COVID virus.”
Karpinski said booster shots are available in several locations, including WVU Medicine booster shot clinics and at pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.
Mary Wade Burnside, Monongalia County Health Department public information officer, said MCHD will distribute COVID-19 vaccines as well as booster shots to those who are eligible from 1-3 p.m. Friday and Oct. 15 at the WVU Recreational Center. Sign-ups are available online at novelhealth.ai/practice/monongalia-county-health-department-clinical-services-383538.
“Filling out their insurance information online in advance will save them time at the appointment,” Burnside said. “The insurance is for the administration of the vaccine, which is free.”
Booster shot appointments can also be made by calling the Monongalia County Health Department at 304-598-5119.
Those who receive the booster shot may experience similar side effects to those seen during the initial vaccine doses.
“With any vaccine, the most common side effect that we’re seeing with the boosters is the soreness in the arm at the injection site,” Karpinski said. “The data that’s released shows no more side effects of the [Pfizer] booster dose compared to the first or second doses.”
According to the CDC, data shows protection against the COVID-19 virus may decrease over time after initially getting vaccinated. As more data becomes available, additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot.