Some Killeen residents may find themselves eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot. But where and how can they get one?
City and county health officials explained to the Herald this week how residents can take the extra steps to protect themselves from COVID-19. Killeenites just need to meet a few requirements, and know where to go to get their extra jab in the arm.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those who are considered “high risk” who have completed their first series of the vaccine at least six months ago. This, according to the FDA, includes anyone who meets the following criteria:
●Individuals 65 years of age and older
●Individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19
Individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19
Residents should know the booster is the same formulation as the standard vaccine one would receive.
“The 3rd shot is exactly the same formulation and dose as the original doses, there are no changes,” Bell County Dr. Janice Smith said Thursday in an email. “What people may be hearing is that with Moderna, they are considering a lower dose for the booster, but this has not been approved yet.”
Residents can obtain the Pfizer vaccine or a booster (for those eligible) from local pharmacies such as Walgreens, H-E-B, Sam’s Club and CVS (by appointment), Smith said.
She also mentioned Thursday that there will also be a vaccine clinic at a safety rest area in Salado Saturday, Northbound and Southbound safety rest area 16801 I-35, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Of course, individuals should consult with their doctors to properly determine their eligibility, which is also outlined by the CDC, according to Killeen’s Director of Emergency Management Peter Perez. That information can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
Area hospitals such as Seton Medical Center and AdventHealth have referred to the Bell County Health Department stating they are leading the charge with vaccinations in the Bell County area. However, patients with Baylor Scott and White may check their eligibility on their “MyChart” and sign up for an appointment for either a booster or vaccine, according to Smith who also said he was not aware if Seton and AdventHealth were offering vaccines at this time.
Residents can also visit vaccines.gov to find out where they can go to get their initial shots as well.
There, users can type in their zip code, select which vaccine they are looking for and find all the locations near them where the vaccine is currently available. However, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA as a booster for eligible adults.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies have shown that after being vaccinated, protection against COVID-19 may decrease overtime and be less able to protect against the Delta variant. This is true especially among certain populations including those 65 and older, as well as frontline workers.
“Data from a small clinical trial show that a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished their primary series six months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant,” the CDC said in a statement on its website.