U.S. Health Officials: Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients Should Get Third Booster Shot Eight Months After Second Dose

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor

SOUTH JERSEY — On Wednesday, top government officials announced that Americans who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can receive a third booster shot eight months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine. The effort to put third shots in arms will begin September 20 with healthcare workers, nursing home residents, and other elderly citizens who were vaccinated first.

Although the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective against the most serious consequences of COVID-19, the vaccines’ effectiveness against mild and moderate illness are waning.

“Here’s what you need to know: If you are fully vaccinated, you still have a high degree of protection from the worst outcomes of COVID-19, severe disease hospitalization and death,” surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy said at a White House briefing on Wednesday. “We are not recommending that you go out and get a booster today. Instead, starting the week of September 20.”

Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine right now. The FDA still has to authorize a third dose of the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna.

Fully vaccinated Americans should get their third booster dose eight months after receiving their second dose of the vaccine. At this time, officials didn’t lay out a plan to administer additional doses to those who received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Wednesday’s announcement from top government officials only applies to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine models.

“We will continue to follow the science on a daily basis,” federal officials said, “and we are prepared to modify this plan should new data emerge that requires it.”

Although the United States acted decisively to begin administering third doses to high-risk community members, the World Health Organization said wealth countries shouldn’t distribute booster shots until the end of September. The United States will take care of both its own people and foreigners, as it’s preparing to donate 600 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to other countries.

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