Moderna, J&J COVID-19 vaccine booster shots given the green light

Those boosters could be available to more people as early as Friday.
Millions more Americans are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
Millions more Americans are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.(kauz)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:25 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:27 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is giving the thumbs up to COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for millions more people.

Those boosters could be available to more people as early as Friday. In the Charlotte area, it is not immediately known when any healthcare group will be handing out those boosters yet, but there is a lot that is currently known.

First, regulators say those who get a booster do not have to use the same brand as their original vaccine. In fact, in the case of the roughly 15 million Americans who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, some advisors say their booster should be from Moderna or Pfizer for added protection.

J&J recipients should get that booster two months after the initial dose, no matter their age. Moderna recipients should get a booster six months after their second shot if they are 65 and older, or if they are younger but have an underlying condition, or a high-risk job or living condition.

Related: EXPLAINER: Is it time to get a COVID-19 booster? Which one?

As of Friday, 71 percent of all adults in North Carolina have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 66 percent are now fully vaccinated.

In South Carolina, 61 percent of everyone eligible has gotten one dose of the vaccine. More than 54 percent of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated.

As far as young children, some decisions could be made next week when it comes to making them eligible for the vaccine.

As far as younger children, health officials will meet next week about vaccinating them.

All three big vaccine companies are collecting data on the safety of vaccines in younger children. Currently, Pfizer is the only one that has submitted a request for emergency use authorization for a vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11.

It would be two doses - given 21 days apart - and it would contain a third of the amount of vaccine an adult would receive.

Health leaders say they’ve seen such negative impacts of children not being able to do normal childhood activities - going to school and playing - because they can’t be vaccinated.

“We’ve had hundreds of children who have lost their lives, thousands who have been hospitalized. Many have not been in school consistently. They have been quarantined. They have missed out on social engagements and get-togethers. Youth sports have been interrupted. When you look at the toll, the price tag if you will, of Covid-19 on our children, it is quite significant. We want them to get their lives back,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said.

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisers will vote on Tuesday whether to recommend that emergency authorization.

If they vote yes, the next step is approval through the CDC and its director for a ecommendation. That could happen as soon as early November.

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