Booster shots are finally here. Use this simple guide to see if you're eligible
Some Americans are now eligible for Covid booster shots — and you might be one of them.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved boosters for a few groups of Americans who have already received two doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine. The news, which follows Wednesday's Food and Drug Administration approval of Pfizer boosters for the same groups of Americans, means eligible people can go get their shots right away.
Up to 20 million people are eligible for boosters now, according to President Joe Biden during a White House address Friday.
Wondering if you're among them? Here are four quick questions to help you figure out if it's time for you to get a third shot:
Which Covid vaccine did you get, and when?
Booster shots are currently available for people who have received both doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine, at least six months after getting their second dose.
For now, the millions of people who got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson's Covid vaccines should sit tight. The CDC will address recommendations for boosters from those drugmakers "with the same sense of urgency," said CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement Friday.
Moderna submitted data on its third-dose booster shots to the FDA on Sept. 1. J&J publicly released data on Monday showing that a second dose of its Covid vaccine provides 94% protection against symptomatic Covid in the U.S., but it's unclear when the drugmaker will submit its findings to the FDA.
Research into the effect of mixing and matching mRNA vaccines with J&J's one-shot is also ongoing.
How old are you?
If you're 65 or older, you're eligible — and you should probably get your third dose sooner rather than later.
That's because older adults are significantly more likely to get severely ill and die from Covid than any other American population. More than 80% of Covid deaths occur in people over age 65, according to the CDC.
If you're under 65 but living in a long-term nursing home facility, you're also eligible now.
Do you have underlying health conditions that put you at high risk of severe illness from Covid?
If you're between the ages of 50 and 64, you can get a booster if you have underlying medical conditions that put you at risk of severe illness from Covid, like diabetes, cancer or heart conditions.
Plenty of adults 18-49 also have those kinds of underlying conditions, ranging from sickle cell disease or HIV infection to obesity, smoking (current or former), substance use disorder or pregnancy. If you're one of those people, the CDC says, you "may" get a booster shot.
Here's what that means: Depending on your individual situation, you might benefit from a booster shot. You also might not. Talking to your doctor who knows your health history is the best way to determine if it's right for you. If you'll benefit from one, the CDC says, you can get one immediately.
If you don't have health conditions that put you at risk, you'll have to wait — unless your job puts you at risk.
What do you do for work?
According to both the CDC and the FDA, if your job puts you at increased risk for Covid-19 exposure and transmission, you can get a booster. That includes frontline workers, like healthcare workers and teachers, and people who work in prisons and homeless shelters.
If you don't meet any of the above qualifications — in other words, you're young and healthy with a relatively low-risk occupation — there's a chance you may never need a booster. Some experts note that the two-dose mRNA vaccines still work well at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death, even against Covid's delta variant.
The general population's most likely scenario for a third shot is if vaccine protection eventually wanes to a point where the vaccines no longer reduce severe disease or prevent hospitalization and death, Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CNBC Make It on Thursday.
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- Only a small percentage of Americans can get boosters now. Here's why — and what it means for you
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