COVID-19 booster shots are now available for some Frederick County residents who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago.
The Frederick County Health Department planned to begin offering the Pfizer boosters Friday to those eligible at both walk-in and appointment-required clinics, according to a news release from the county’s COVID-19 Joint Information Center.
Following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state health officials on Friday directed vaccine providers to make boosters available to eligible Marylanders.
“If you received your second Pfizer dose at least six months ago, you should strongly consider getting a booster shot,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a statement Friday following the CDC’s recommendations.
Eligible people fall within at least one of three categories. Those include: individuals 65 and older, including all residents of long-term care facilities; 18 and older with underlying medical conditions, or; 18 and older and at increased risk of infection because of settings in which they work or spend time in.
Those seeking a booster will need to self-attest to their eligibility, though no additional proof is required. People who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine aren’t currently eligible for a booster.
Pharmacies and private businesses may still require time to adjust their policies and systems to accommodate the change before administering booster doses, county health spokeswoman Rissah Watkins said in an email to The News-Post.
Moreover, people who are immunocompromised and were inoculated with either Pfizer or Moderna are still eligible for a third dose, which county health officials have been administering since Aug. 13.
During a recent county Board of Health meeting, Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer said manufacturers were working to create a more effective dose, though she expected that if boosters were approved soon — which they were — they’d be the same formula as the third doses that immunocompromised people had been receiving.
The CDC’s authorization comes amid a fourth surge of the virus catapulted by the more-contagious delta variant. In Frederick County, two people died from the virus in the last 24 hours, and as of Thursday there were 30 people hospitalized, including four who required intensive care, according to Friday’s data on the county’s COVID dashboard.