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What students need to know about the COVID-19 booster shot

What students need to know about the COVID-19 booster shot

What students need to know about the COVID-19 booster shot
September 09
17:00 2021

Despite the White House’s goal of making COVID-19 booster shots available to all Americans by Sept. 20, it is unclear if every vaccine type’s booster will be available by that date.

Health and government officials are waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The two agencies are in turn waiting for sufficient data from Moderna and Pfizer about each’s boosters.

“[It] looks like Pfizer has their data in and likely would meet the deadline,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the president of the United States, told CBS News. “We hope that Moderna would also be able to do it so we could [release the boosters] simultaneously, but if not, we’ll do it sequentially.”

On Aug. 12, the FDA approved a third vaccine dose of Moderna and Pfizer for immunocompromised individuals. There is not enough current data to approve a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, although it is likely to be recommended in the future, according to the Centers for Disease and Prevention.

“The booster shot is for individuals whose immune response would have weakened over time,” said Jennifer Rainey, public information officer and press release worker for the Denton County Public Health. “The CDC, FDA, as well as the ACIP, have not authorized those booster shots yet for regular individuals and community members.”

DCPH is waiting for an update from health, federal and state officials so it can move forward with distributing booster shots.

“We are planning in the background and waiting for that approval,” Rainey said. “Once we get those approvals through ACIP, FDA and the Texas Department of State Health Services, we will be sending out an invitation to anyone we have vaccinated so that they can get that scheduled third dose.”

The CDC suggests the booster shot to be delivered to various populations similarly to how COVID-19 vaccines were given in the spring. Doses would first become available to individuals in long term care facilities and healthcare employees on the front lines. To receive the booster shot, all individuals will need to have received their previous COVID-19 vaccinations at least eight months ago.

“[The booster shot] would be available for students on campus, if approved,” Kerry Stanhope, assistant director of the Meadows Center for Health Resources, said. “We are already trying to figure how to do that. It could potentially happen in October.”

Some students expressed hesitancy regarding the booster shot but said their ultimate priority is protecting their health.

“After the second dose of my vaccine, my body was hurting,” biology junior Adrienne Kelly said. “I don’t really want to put myself through that stress but if it’s something that will help, I’m fine with it.”

There is limited information about the risks of receiving an additional vaccine dose, but reported reactions were similar to those of the two-dose series, according to the CDC. This includes mild to moderate fatigue and pain at the injection site.

“I have already received the Moderna vaccine,” political science junior Jessie Clyne said. “If there was enough evidence that the booster shot was safe, then yes, I would be interested in getting it.”

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Priya Leal

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