Syringe

Brent Aldrich of the Steuben County Emergency Medical Service loads up a syringe with Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 at the Steuben County Vaccine Clinic at Crooked Lake in this file photo from February.

INDIANAPOLIS — High-risk Hoosiers who previously received a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer are now eligible to get a booster to increase their protection against the virus as they head into colder weather.

The announcement may have limited impact locally, as most of the vaccines distributed in the four-county area were Moderna vaccines and the state is not authorizing mix-and-match vaccine regimens.

The Indiana Department of Health announced Friday that booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are available to eligible Hoosiers following federal authorization of the additional dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the administration of a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine to counter waning immunity in specific populations following the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to expand its Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to include the boosters. Previously, the FDA had authorized a third dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for immunocompromised individuals who did not build protection from the vaccine.

The single booster dose can be administered at least six months after completion of the second dose and applies only to individuals who previously received the Pfizer vaccine.

Individuals who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not eligible at this time.

Most vaccines distributed in the four-county area earlier this year were Moderna vaccines, as that’s what was being regularly stocked in county health department clinics in the four counties.

The former Cameron Memorial Hospital clinic in Steuben County was the only local site that was giving out Pfizer.

Local clinics now generally stock all three types of vaccines so people can select which kind they want, but that was not the case during the initial vaccination push during spring and early summer when the mass vaccination sites were open in the counties.

According to the CDC:

• Individuals ages 65 and older and residents of long-term care facilities should receive a booster dose.

• Individuals ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk of severe COVID-19 should receive a booster dose.

• Individuals ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster dose, based on their individual benefits and risks.

• Individuals ages 18 to 64 who are at high risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of an occupational or institutional risk of exposure may receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks.

Eligible Hoosiers who want to obtain a booster dose can go to ourshot.in.gov and search for a site that has the Pfizer vaccine, which is designated by PVAX, or call 211 for assistance. Hoosiers are encouraged to bring their vaccination card to their appointment to ensure that the booster dose is added.

Upon arriving at the vaccination clinic, Hoosiers will be asked to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements listed above.

Beginning Monday, that attestation will be incorporated into the online appointment registration at ourshot.in.gov.

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