NEW YORK — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommended booster shots for many recipients of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines. As a result, up to 99 million Americans are now eligible for additional doses bolstering protection against COVID-19 beginning Friday. This follows FDA authorization of a Pfizer booster dose on Sept. 24. As part of the new guidance, eligible populations may also choose to receive a dose different from the one they received for their initial series.
Walgreens and Hy-Vee are among the retailers now offering eligible individuals the Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccine booster shots in stores following the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and new guidance from the CDC.
“As new guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccines continues to emerge, our communities are relying on pharmacists for information, support and guidance more than ever. Walgreens pharmacy teams are available to answer questions and make it easy to understand eligibility requirements and access COVID-19 vaccine, whether it’s a first dose or booster shot,” said Rina Shah, group vice president pharmacy operations and services at Walgreens.
“As we help millions of Americans get their booster shot, vaccine hesitancy is still a barrier in many communities of color,” added Dr. Kevin Ban, chief medical officer at Walgreens. “As we have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Walgreens will remain focused on driving equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines with vaccine equity clinics and educational initiatives.”
Hy-Vee said that free Moderna and J&J vaccine booster doses are now available at pharmacy locations across its eight-state region. The chain is also currently offering $10 gift cards to patients who complete their COVID-19 vaccination, including those who receive their booster with Hy-Vee through November 1.
CVS Pharmacy locations are offering the Moderna COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations beginning today in addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster.
“The systems we’ve built and our deep experience in providing vaccinations allows us to play a leading role in administering booster shots to eligible populations,” said Dr. Troyen Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Health. “We also remain focused on providing easy and convenient opportunities for the unvaccinated to receive their first doses.”
Booster shot info:
- Moderna COVID-19 Booster Eligibility: Eligibility requirements for Moderna and Pfizer-BioTech booster doses are the same. Individuals must wait at least six months after they complete their initial mRNA COVID-19 primary vaccine series to receive their booster dose. Eligible individuals include:
- Individuals aged 65 and older.
- Long-term care facility residents ages 18 and older.
- Individuals aged 18 and older with underlying medical conditions. Individuals ages 18 – 49 should consider individual benefits and risks, according to CDC guidance.
- Individuals ages 18-64 who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, such as healthcare and essential workers, based on their individual benefits and risks.
- J&J COVID-19 Booster Eligibility: A single vaccine booster dose is recommended for individuals 18 and older who received a J&J primary dose at least 2 months after they receive their initial J&J primary vaccine dose.
- Mix & Match Guidance: In general, it is recommended individuals receive the same product for their booster dose as they did for their primary series.
- However, if the original product is not available or another product is preferred, mix and matching vaccines with any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters is allowed.
- The primary series of two-dose vaccines should still be completed with the same product for both doses.