COVID-19 Vaccine Update
All three available vaccines now authorized for booster doses, Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11 possible mid-November.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Clinic Saturday, November 6
Mount Desert Island Hospital will be offering a vaccine booster clinic in the lobby of the Bar Harbor Regency on Saturday, November 6 from 9 am – 12 pm. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses will be available. Visit mdihospital.org/covid-19-
If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you must be 6 months or more past your initial series to be eligible for a booster. Boosters are now recommended for everyone 18 and older at least 2 months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday that booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been authorized for use and will soon be available for eligible individuals. Pfizer vaccine booster doses have been authorized since September and more than 70,000 have already been administered in Maine.
Third doses are also available for select individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions, as recommended by the CDC. While booster shots are intended for those whose immune response may have lessened over time, a third dose might be offered to those who may not have had a strong enough immune response from the first two doses due to certain conditions. Consult your health care provider to learn which might be right for you.
Eligible individuals will be able to choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. The new CDC recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
With more than 65 million Americans currently unvaccinated, first doses remain a critical priority. Available data shows that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.
MDI Hospital continues to administer boosters of Pfizer for eligible individuals in our health center locations as well as an additional third dose to select individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions as recommended by the CDC. Call-in appointment scheduling for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses is expected to begin later this week.
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5-to 11-year-old children Tuesday, October 26, with advisors from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) expected to weigh in on November 2 and 3. If authorized, the vaccine could be available for this age group as soon as mid-November. It is expected that the vaccine dosage for this age group will be smaller.
COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 years old are subject to the same multi-step testing, authorization, and approval process as all other COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 vaccines ─ including those routinely recommended for childhood vaccination.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated 10/26/21
Q: Am I eligible for a booster?
A: According to the latest CDC guidelines, people who received their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago should get a booster if they fall into one of these categories:
- 65 years and older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
For those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, a booster shot is recommended for everyone 18 and older at least 2 months after receiving their original dose.
Q: What is the difference between a booster and a third dose?
Booster shots are given when an original vaccine’s effectiveness may start to weaken, while a third or additional dose might be offered to those who are not expected to have had a strong enough immune response to their initial vaccination due to certain conditions. Consult your health care provider to learn which might be right for you.
Q: Do I need to get the same booster as my original COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix and match dosing for booster shots. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. The biggest benefit to mixing and matching is that it gives people options to get their booster as soon as possible.
Q: What are the expected side effects?
A: Side effects are expected to be similar to initial vaccination and can include pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and fever.
Q: Where will boosters be available?
A: For those eligible, booster shots will be available at both provider’s offices and pharmacies. If you are unable to get the booster at your original vaccine location, vaccines.gov can provide information about vaccination services in your area. You can also text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.
The Maine CDC currently lists vaccination sites offering additional doses of Pfizer vaccine at: www.maine.gov/covid19/
Q: Do boosters mean the vaccines aren’t working?
A: No, the availability of boosters does not mean the original vaccines aren’t working. The effectiveness of most vaccines lessen over time and boosters are often used in routine vaccination to maintain peak immunity.
All the data suggests that the vaccines have dramatically reduced the risk of contracting the virus, of spreading the virus, and most importantly, of being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19.
Q: Will booster shots be the same formulation as existing vaccines?
A: Yes, COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their initial series.
Q: Do I need to bring my vaccination card to get the booster?
A: It is helpful to bring proof of your original vaccination with you when you get a booster so your provider can update your vaccination card.
Q: Do I have to get a booster to be considered fully vaccinated?
A: No. At this time, people are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.