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Local health expert encourages booster shots after CDC approval

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Millions more people are now eligible for COVID-19 booster shots. The CDC just signing off on boosters for all three vaccines.

Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine have been out for about a month for people 65 and older and those considered high-risk. What’s new is now the same goes for Moderna. And if you’re someone who got Johnson and Johnson – the CDC says you can now get a second dose two months after your first shot if you’re 18 or older.

We spoke to a doctor at AU Health who says these boosters will give you better protection.

“We want you to get that booster shot and we want you to go ahead and get it regardless if its Pfizer of Moderna because it’s gonna leave you with better lasting protection than just the first two doses,” said Dr. Joshua Wyche, AU Health.

Wyche says this will help high-risk people. The FDA approved mixing and matching which means the booster you get doesn’t have to be the same as the vaccine you got. He believes this will be big for people 65 and older who got Moderna or Johnson and Johnson.

They couldn’t get a booster until now.

“Those individuals...it really makes it easier as you go into these places, knowing that you can give a booster dose of a Pfizer or a Moderna to these high risk individuals who would’ve received one or another during the initial rollout,” said Wyche.

And if you got a Johnson and Johnson vaccine if it’s been two months doctors recommend getting a second shot now. Wyche says the data suggests two Johnson and Johnson shots are better than one.

“While one shot provided decent level of protection against COVID-19, the addition of a second shot really boosted it up to levels that we saw with Pfizer & Moderna vaccines,” he said.

Georgia’s Department of Public Health announced the state will start offering booster doses of Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines on Tuesday. South Carolina DHEC isn’t outlining its availability just yet but says it expects more guidance in the near future.

Health officials are also at work weighing the safety and effectiveness of vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11. FDA groups are set to start talking about authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for that age group next week.

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