Who qualifies for boosters and 3rd doses? Health officials explain

Coronavirus

There's a difference between who qualifies for a third COVID-19 vaccine and who qualifies for a booster

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon state health officials took questions from the public during a Facebook live session Wednesday to clarify who’s eligible for another COVID-19 vaccine. 

First, officials at Oregon Health Authority distinguished between getting a third shot and what’s commonly called a “booster shot.” 

The third shot is for people who are immunocompromised and may not have built up an adequately protected immunity in their first series of MRNA through the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. 

Public Health Director Rachael Banks said only emergency use authorizations for Moderna and Pfizer authorized third doses for the immunocompromised. 

Currently, there is no third dose or even a second dose authorized for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Immunocompromised people can receive a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna 28 days after their second dose and should consult their primary care doctor or clinic if they think they are eligible. 

Banks explained why some people might need a third short or booster in the weeks and months ahead. 

“The proportion of vaccine breakthrough cases who died of COVID-19 has increased over time,” she said. “These deaths are a result of more disease in the community caused by the delta variant and… the small decrease in vaccine effectiveness found among particularly the elderly and particularly among older residents in long-term care facilities who were vaccinated earlier in the vaccine rollout.” 

As for eligibility of a “booster” dose, health officials said it’s recommended for those whose immunity may be fading, six months after completing their second Pfizer vaccination. 

The booster is recommended 6 months after a person has their second Pfizer dose and it’s authorized for Pfizer vaccine recipients only right now. The eligible groups include people ages 65 and older, and people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. Also, people ages 18-64 who have underlying health conditions or who are at risk of increased exposure or transmission because of where they work or where they live. 

Banks said those eligible for a booster shot include:

  • Health care workers,
  • All patient health care staff, not just medical workers  
  • Food service and housekeeping staff at hospitals
  • Workers who treat high-risk patients and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs
  • Those who provide non-emergency medical transportation or work in hospices  
  • First responders such as firefighters and police
  • Congregant care staff such as caregivers and staff in long-term care facilities and group homes
  • Those who work in educational settings such as teachers, support staff and day care workers
  • Food and agricultural workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Corrections workers
  • Unite States Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers
  • People with intellectual or development disabilities and those who care for them
  • Those with social inequities such as where you live, access to safe housing or transportation issues
  • Older people who take care of younger children, or those living in multigenerational homes

Oregon Health Authority has more information on third vaccines and “booster shots” on its website.

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