As the US opens up COVID boosters to all adults, Jacksonville pharmacy is seeing increased demand
Jacksonville, Florida. The United States on Friday opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults.
In the morning, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the injection. In the afternoon, advisers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention backed the move. Then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had to approve before the new policy became official late Friday.
Under the rules, anyone 18 or older can choose either a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose. For anyone who has received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the wait has been only two months. People can mix and match with reinforcements from any company.
Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines work, but over time, the level of antibodies in the body decreases.
“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to increase the level of the antibody so that we’re just as protected as we are after the initial series of vaccinations,” said Dr. Mobin Rathore, an epidemiologist in Jacksonville.
This is the function of the booster shots.
“The general rule is that it takes about four weeks. After two weeks, you should have an increased antibody response,” Rathore said.
Millions of people have already received boosters. Midtown Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Chen Ur say they have potions ready to use. He says the demand is flowing slowly.
“Demand is slow-flowing, but I see there is an increase, you know, week by week,” Orr said.
Laurel Guzman says she received the Pfizer shot about six months ago and is likely to get a booster, too.
“Probably,” Guzman said. “Because I already got the vaccine – why not?”
Leon Jarrett, who lives in Jacksonville, says he’s also looking forward to getting a booster shot.
“I think it makes a lot of people feel comfortable knowing it’s been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. I think it just gives people that confidence,” Garrett said. “I think it just gives people that confidence.”
Boosters are just smaller doses than the original vaccines. The possible side effects are the same – the most common being arm inflammation, but you can also develop a low-grade fever.
Oeur hopes the expanded approval will encourage more people to get boosters.
“I was very excited about the possibility of vaccinating more people,” Orr said.
He says Pfizer and Moderna boosters should be available to the expanded group the day after approval.
“Stock is available. There is no shortage of vaccine supplies except for J&J (Johnson & Johnson), but in terms of stock taking out, we can have it the next day,” Oeur said.
Experts say that with cases now rising in some areas as holiday travel approaches, it’s especially important to make sure your immune system is as prepared as possible.
“It is not only important to get the booster medication before the holiday, as you well know, there is already a slight increase in cases in the Northeast and Midwest. In Europe, we are seeing that,” Rathore said.
Rathore recommends going with the same brand as the original shot, but says mixing and matching is acceptable, too.
“Get any booster you can get,” he said.
In the past month, several groups of people became eligible for Pfizer or Moderna boosters, six months after their second dose. They included people aged 65 and over, as well as those aged 18 and over who work, live in high-risk settings, or have underlying health conditions that put them at risk. Anyone 18 or older who has had a J&J shot at least two months ago also qualifies.