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Alabama state health office reacts to COVID-19 booster shot expansion

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, scene in this file photo from Oct. 8, 2021,...
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, scene in this file photo from Oct. 8, 2021, providing a COVID update.
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - On Friday the FDA approved, and a CDC advisory panel endorsed the expansion of booster shot availability for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 boosters to all adults. The panel’s recommendation will most likely prompt the CDC to soon clear approval of the doses, which would be the final regulatory step before the U.S. can officially start distribution.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris addressed the booster approval Friday afternoon.

So far, 2.1 million Alabamians have completed vaccine series, marking about 42-percent of the state. Harris said tests have shown immunity wanes over time for those who are vaccinated and says boosters are needed. But it’s not clear if more boosters will be needed later.

“I don’t think we know that right now. It is a coin flip. I think it is unclear,” Harris said. “We are going to need more time, we are going to need to follow people over time who get these booster doses, see how susceptible they remain to infection six months from now or a year from now, measure antibody levels and see what happens to those antibody levels before we’re really going to be able to make that recommendation.”

ADPH said Friday that adults who have gotten Pfizer and Moderna’s booster shots are eligible for boosters at least six months after the completion of the initial two-dose vaccination series. Adults initially vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster dose two months after their first shot.

Children ages 5 through 11 are eligible for vaccination, under Emergency Use Authorization, with the Pfizer vaccine. Children, ages 12 and above can be vaccinated under EUA with the Pfizer product as well at the standard adult dose.

ADPH noted that most hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 in Alabama are among unvaccinated people and said the best way to protect everyone is to be vaccinated, including people who have been infected with COVID-19 before.

For individuals 5 through 17 years of age, please check vaccines.gov or contact the provider to see if the Pfizer vaccine is offered before scheduling your appointment.

All county health departments offer COVID-19 vaccine, but some locations do not have all three brands of vaccine available. All county health departments will offer the age-eligible vaccine products for free to ages 5 and older. Contact your county health department for availability.

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