The Delaware Division of Public Health on Friday told the state’s vaccine providers they can begin administering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to those eligible under new CDC guidelines.
Those who should get booster shots include:
- People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings.
- People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions, which include but are not limited to: cancer, chronic heart, lung and kidney diseases, dementia, diabetes, down syndrome, HIV, overweight and obesity, pregnancy, organ transplants and stroke.
- People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions (the same categories as mentioned above), based on their individual benefits and risk
- People aged 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, including, health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others.
Those who may get a shot include:
- People in high-risk occupational and institutional settings.
The state’s move comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally voted Wednesday to expand its Emergency Use Authorization to allow for a booster dose of Pfizer for certain people six months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Boosters are not yet authorized for people who received either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met Thursday to provide additional guidance on who should receive a booster dose under the EUA.
Public Health said it encourages individuals in these most at-risk categories to seek booster vaccines first.
“We are very confident that we have enough vaccine to meet the needs of individuals who meet the criteria for a booster, as vaccine capacity is now very different than it was when COVID-19 vaccines first became available. With that said, it may take some time to offer boosters to everyone who qualifies,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of public health. “We are focusing intently on protecting Delaware’s most vulnerable and we encourage everyone to consider their own situation when heading out to receive their booster in the next few weeks.”
COVID-19 vaccine providers in Delaware may begin administering booster doses of Pifzer immediately or as soon as they are able, a Public Health press release said.
Members of the public who are eligible for a booster shot are recommended to seek vaccine at existing vaccine sites including pharmacies, health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients), and standing DPH Vaccine sites:
- Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, 19901
- Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, 19947
- Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, 19805
- University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, 19702
“While making booster shots available is an important move, DPH’s focus continues to be getting more Delawareans fully vaccinated,” Rattay said. “With only half of the state’s population fully vaccinated, we still have a long way to go.”
As a reminder, Delawareans who have certain immunocompromising conditions including those who have received organ or stem cell transplants, are undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer, or who are taking medication that suppresses the immune system, are currently eligible to receive a “third dose” of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, if they completed their second dose at least 28 days prior.
DPH encourages providers to use their clinical judgement and to consider additional factors for their patients when determining if the person meets the qualifications for immunocompromised status and is eligible for a “third dose” of Pfizer or Moderna. These factors may include assessing patients who reside in a long-term care facility or patients of advanced age (especially those over age 85).
For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, go to de.gov/getmyvaccine.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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