JACKSON — The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of researchers and physicians who together are the nation’s utmost authority on setting vaccination policy, has advised the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that people who are at the highest risk for poor health outcomes should get a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to help increase their protection.

If you’ve already received your first two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and your second dose was at least six months ago, the CDC now recommends a booster shot for the following people:

• people 65 years and older, and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot;

• people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot;

• people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster;

• people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks.

“There are many chronic diseases, too many to list, that this recommendation about underlying medical conditions would apply to,” stated Jackson County Health Commissioners Kevin Aston. “If you have a question about whether or not you have an applicable underlying medical condition, please consult with your regular healthcare provider.”

Aston added, “Similarly, there are many occupations where social distancing, a lack of masking, poor ventilation, and/or direct physical contact cannot be avoided and therefore also fall under this recommendation.”

This recommendation, according to the Jackson County Health Department, only applies to people who got two doses of the Pfizer brand COVID vaccine at least six months ago. The Pfizer booster has not been studied or approved to give as a booster to people who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines. Those other brands are currently being studied and the ACIP will review the data and make recommendations in the future.

“It is also important to note that people who have had two doses of Moderna and Pfizer or one dose of Johnson & Johnson are still considered to be fully immunized unless they are immunocompromised,” Aston said.

The Jackson County Health Department (JCHD) will be holding a large immunization clinic at the Jackson High School Field House on Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Pfizer booster doses, as well as Moderna and J&J doses, will be available to the public on a walk-in basis and free of charge. Additional clinics will likely be scheduled in the future, the JCHD is still conducting home visits for those residents that are home-bound, and appointments at our 200 E. Main St. location can be made by calling 740-286-5094.

For more information, contact the Jackson County Health Department at 740-286-5094.

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