Booster shots for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are now available, but who is eligible for them?
People ages 18 to 64 years old who are at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to working or residing in certain settings can get the booster shots.
Although the vaccination for older adults remains effective in preventing severe disease, new studies point to the vaccination being less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
The new evidence shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, the vaccine’s effectiveness is beginning to decrease with time, likely due to waning immunity and the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.
A recent clinical trial shows the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot increases the immune response in participants who finished the first set of vaccinations six months earlier.
That increased immune response should provide improved protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant of the virus.
The CDC recommends the following people should get booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of their two-dose series:
- People ages 65 years and older
- Adults over 18 years old who live in long-term care settings
- People ages 50 to 64 years old with underlying medical conditions
- Those who are 18 to 49 years old with an underlying medical condition, and
- People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to working or residing in certain settings.
Occupations listed by the CDC that are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure include:
- First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
- Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers, and
- Grocery store workers.