Moderna vaccine boosters will be available at county health depts. beginning Monday
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State health officials say the Moderna vaccine booster will be available at county health department offices beginning Monday.
Officials with the Mississippi State Health Department spoke about new guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots at a press conference Thursday.
The state had already been offering the Pfizer booster at county health offices. However, it had not been using the Moderna serums.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers and Senior Deputy and Director of Health Protection Jim Craig urged those who are eligible for a booster to get one now, before the official start of the holiday season.
The news comes as new COVID cases in the state drop. However, the two say they are worried because the holiday season will mean more gatherings, and likely more people being exposed to the virus.
MSDH did report a surge in cases from mid-December to mid-January, following Thanksgiving.
“The important thing, if all possible, is getting vaccinated,” Craig said. “Number two, while you can do the things we talk about – the social distancing, the hand hygiene, getting tested if you feel sick or have symptoms – if you are sick, try not to be around others.”
“What really concerns me going into the holidays most is that the vulnerable population is still out there. Bring them presents. Don’t bring them COVID,” he said. “Please get vaccinated. If it’s time for your booster, it’s a good time to get the booster going into the holiday season.”
Byers said many people in the state likely do meet the eligibility requirements to receive a booster.
Categories include those who are 65 or older, individuals living in long-term care settings, those who are 18 and older with chronic health conditions that would put them at high risk for severe COVID infection, and anyone who is 18 and older working in a setting that would put them at high risk of getting the virus.
“That includes things like hypertension, (which) a large percentage of people in Mississippi have,” Byers said. “Or obesity – we’re overweight.”
Also, to receive a booster, individuals who received the Moderna or Pfizer shot must be fully vaccinated, and have been fully vaccinated for at least six months.
Individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine must have been fully vaccinated for two months and must be 18 years or older.
If you meet the eligibility, you can receive the booster shot of your choice. In other words, if you initially received Johnson & Johnson, you can get the Moderna or the Pfizer booster.
“There can be some mixing and matching of the booster shots as well,” Byers said. “It is allowable with all three.”
Johnson & Johnson boosters are currently not available at county health departments. Craig said the numbers don’t support the state carrying the boosters at those centers now.
To schedule an appointment, log onto www.covidvaccine.umc.edu. The system will be up and running beginning at 7 p.m., Friday night.
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