Pa. Health Dept: Providers are ready to give new COVID boosters | Tuesday Morning Coffee

The new Pfizer jab is available to people aged 12 years old and up; the new Moderna shot is available to people aged 18 and up, officials said

By: - September 6, 2022 7:09 am

Doctor giving an injection to the patient at hospital

Now that the federal government has given them the green light, vaccine providers across the commonwealth are ready to start administering the latest COVID-19 booster shots as soon as they receive them, state health officials have said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after an earlier action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, cleared the way for the vaccines last week, the Capital-Star reported. The boosters provide added protection against the original coronavirus, as well as its omicron, BA.4 and BA.5 variants, the state Health Department said in a statement.

The new Pfizer booster is available to people aged 12 years old and up, while the new Moderna booster is available to those aged 18 and older, state officials said.

“Vaccine providers across Pennsylvania have already requested the updated vaccines,”  acting state Health Secretary/Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson said in a Sept. 2 statement. The shots were expected to begin arriving in the state last week, and continue after Monday’s Labor Day holiday.

“If you are eligible, please reach out to your local vaccine provider to schedule an appointment,” Johnson said.

To receive the booster, recipients must already have received their first round of vaccinations: two doses of Pfizer or Moderna jabs, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson jab, the Health Department said, citing guidance from the CDC.

People seeking the boosters also are required to wait at least two months since completing their primary series or a booster shot before being eligible to receive the updated booster vaccine, the Health Department said.

“As we continue to live with COVID-19, we must stay vigilant to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from the harmful effects of the virus,” Johnson added. “The best way to do that is to stay up to date with your vaccine regimen, including receiving the updated booster shot, when eligible to do so.”

In its statement, the Health Department issued an important caveat, noting that the CDC “has advised people 12 and older who have already scheduled appointments for the original booster vaccine to reschedule the appointment and ask for the updated shot,” officials said.

That’s because “the original vaccines are no longer authorized for use as boosters for people 12 years of age and older. Those vaccines, however, are still to be used for those beginning or finishing the primary series,” the agency said in its statement.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.