Millions of Americans are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines booster shot.
On Thursday, Oct. 21, the Centers for Disease Control endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' (ACIP) recommendation to make the shot more widely available. Those eligible can now receive what is known as the "booster dose" at vaccine clinics and in pharmacies.
At the Eastfield College Campus in Mesquite on Saturday, Dallas County residents said they were eager to get the vaccine.
"Because I'm over 65 and I felt like I needed it and true enough I've got a big family," said Diane Watts.
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Patricia Omelogu agreed.
"I have children, I have grandchildren. I don't want to get sick and I don't want any of them to get sick so it's important to me," she said.
On Thursday, the CDC approved expanding the eligibility for the booster making it possible for millions of more Americans to receive theirs.
"I'm very grateful," said Emmanuel Omelogu who came to the vaccine clinic with his wife. "It's unfortunate a lot of people are not adhering to common sense report. Everyone should get this because it's free."
CVS Pharmacy is now offering the COVID-19 booster shots at its 9,000 locations to eligible populations. Pharmacists say patients have been requesting it for weeks.
"We've had patients who have been coming in every day, at least 20 patients a day and at least 20 calls a day," said Frank Arrendondo, CVS staff pharmacy. "All are asking if they can get their booster dose."
According to CVS, those eligible for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot include:
- People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNA primary series
- People aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNA primary series
- People 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNA primary series, 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 may receive a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their mRNa primary series
The CDC also recommends a booster shot for those patients who received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine and are 18 and older who were vaccinated two or more months ago.
Those eligible include people who are 18 and older who work in professions that put them at risk, including North Texas resident, Tony Kozarevich.
"I work in the medical field so it was one of those things. I'm around it a lot, and I feel like anything that they have out that's better protection for me, I'll do it," he said.
Kozarevich's family went with him on Saturday to get the booster.
"He's an EMT, he's my child and we need to take care of them and be the example," his mother Nancy Kozarevich said. "I mean if we can get vaccines 50 years ago, we can get one now and we'll be okay."
Patients can choose which vaccine they want to receive and can mix and match with the previous vaccination type. Pharmacists say this is the next step they have been waiting for in the fight against COVID-19
"We're excited to finally be able to give it to a broader spectrum of patients out there," said Arrendondo.
Although walk-ins are available, CVS pharmacists recommend that you make an appointment for the booster. For medical guidance around vaccines and boosters please contact your healthcare provider or visit here.