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Who can get a COVID-19 booster dose? And how?

Tom Dinki/WBFO News
A sign directs people toward the COVID-19 vaccination site at Harriman Hall on the University at Buffalo's South Campus in January of 2021.

Nearly 100 million Americans are now eligible for a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, after the Centers for Disease Control approved new recommendations last week. Here’s who can get the shot, and how.

The CDC says those who received the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines can all receive booster doses. But whether you’re eligible depends on which shot you got and when.

If you received a Pfizer or Moderna dose at least six months ago, you’re only eligible if you’re 65 or older, or 18 and older and considered high-risk. That includes having underlying medical conditions, or living and working in a high-risk setting, such as a nursing home or school.

However, any adult who received a Johnson and Johnson dose at least two months ago can get the shot. That’s because Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine was found to be less effective than Pfizer and Moderna’s.

The good news, if you got Johnson and Johnson, is that its effectiveness goes up to 94% percent after a booster shot, according to data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Also, you can now mix and match your dose for the booster shot. So if you got the Johnson and Johnson dose originally, feel free to seek out a Pfizer or Moderna dose for your booster.

The Erie County Department of Health has said it’s experiencing strong demand for booster shots at its clinics, and that county residents can now book an appointment online, at erie.gov/vax.

Seventy-eight percent of the county adults have now received at least one dose.

Tom Dinki joined WBFO in August 2019 to cover issues affecting older adults.