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Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. launches tool to help understand current COVID-19 booster guidance

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:14 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - With the recent approval of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department created an online tool to determine if an individual is eligible for a booster shot and if the booster dose is recommended.

The questionnaire is based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and can be found at vaccine417.com. The CDC guidance distinguishes between those who should and those who may get the booster shot, and the questionnaire will help individuals determine if a booster is recommended for them.

Cara Erwin with the Springfield- Greene County Health Department says demand for the boosters has increased significantly over the last few days. That’s why it’s important for people to know when they’re eligible and which shot is recommended.

“The process to determine whether a booster is recommended or even approved for individuals who received their COVID-19 vaccine can be somewhat complex,” Erwin says.

The new online questionnaire makes it easy, giving people an answer right away.

“There’s also some additional language in there that talks about the mixing and matching and says that even though this is the type that’s recommended, you may also get these types as well,” Erwin says.

While it is recommended that the same vaccine be administered, mixing vaccine types was also approved for the booster doses only. Individuals who are eligible to receive a booster shot can choose a different vaccine type than they received initially. Those with additional questions or in need of guidance should discuss their options with their healthcare provider.

Those who meet the following criteria and received the two-dose Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines should receive a booster shot at least six months after their second dose was administered:

• people 65 years and older

• residents in long-term care settings

• people aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions

Individuals who received the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines who may receive a booster at least six months after their second dose was administered meet the following criteria:

• people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions

• people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting

Chad Overcash got his booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Overcash describes getting that third shot as bittersweet.

“I was kind of hoping that we didn’t have to get to this point but on the flip side, I’m thankful that we have the technology and know-how and everything to try to combat this.”

Overcash says he wanted that added layer of protection for himself and those around him.

“I’ve gotten a job with one of the schools locally so being in a school setting and with the students and staff, faculty and everything like that,” Overcash says.

The same goes for Nancy Cooper, who was relieved to get her third dose. Cooper says she hopes she can finally get back to traveling.

“I wanna make sure that I’m not passing this disease onto anybody else,” Cooper says. “I want to be able to go out and do things in groups and go to restaurants and I just feel a lot safer.”

The CDC states everyone 18 and older who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot at least two months after their vaccine was administered.

All doses and boosters are available at the Health Department Vaccination Clinic located at 1425 East Battlefield Rd. The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information and additional opportunities to get vaccinated can be found at vaccine417.com or by calling the COVID-19 Call Center at 417-874-1211.

Erwin is encouraging people to make appointments online, rather than just walking in, to help reduce wait times too. For those looking to get their booster, it falls on the honor system.

“We don’t go so far as to require a doctor’s note or require proof that you work in an industry that your risk of exposure is higher,” Erwin says. “Nothing like that. We just ask you to sign a quick little form that says yes I understand that these are the current recommendations.”

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