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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. 

COVID-19 Boosters Available For Those Who Received Pfizer Vaccine

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WV Governor's Office
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West Virginia's Coronavirus Czar Clay Marsh speaks at a virtual press briefing with Gov. Jim Justice on Oct. 23, 2020.

COVID-19 booster shots are now widely available in the Mountain State for those who previously received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

That comes after both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended expanding who should get a booster.

Gov. Jim Justice encouraged West Virignians to receive a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine during this regular press briefing Monday. He said as long as it’s been six months since receiving the last shot, people can receive a booster.

“If you are 18 and above, you will drop into some category that will enable you to get that booster shot,” Justice said.

These categories include those who are immunocompromised or are 65 and older. But health officials stressed that those who are younger and want an extra dose shouldn't have a problem getting it.

“Really almost anybody can qualify,” said coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh.

The likely disqualifier would be for people who received the other vaccines first -- Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

Federal health agencies say for those two vaccines, consumers will need to wait for more information on boosters, or at least ask a doctor.

The FDA recommends anyone working in a high-risk setting get a booster regardless of age. The same goes for those likely to get very sick or die if they were to catch COVID-19. To the CDC, that includes those with chronic lung and heart diseases, cancers or neurological disabilities. It also includes those who are overweight, who smoke or who are a person of color.

Studies show that the Pfizer vaccine loses some efficacy over time.

Moderna has submitted an application to federal health agencies for approval of its booster. Johnson & Johnson is conducting clinical trials for its booster, but has not yet applied for federal approval.

About 13,000 people in West Virginia have gotten an extra shot since the FDA and CDC first approved a third dose of Pfizer for the immunocompromised last month.


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