Pfizer COVID booster FAQ: New omicron variant, vaccine unwanted side effects, who’s eligible and extra

Pfizer booster shot update as CDC meets to decide eligibility. Today's status

Adults who acquired Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine can get a booster after six months.


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For essentially the most up-to-date information and details about the coronavirus pandemic, go to the WHO and CDC web sites.

A new COVID-19 variant known as omicron is elevating issues world wide after being present in South Africa. Scientists are speeding to know the mutated virus, whereas international locations are proscribing journey to protect in opposition to one other wave of the illness. In response, Pfizer stated it’s investigating the brand new pressure and can create a modified model of its vaccine if wanted.

The omicron variant has a excessive variety of mutations that scientists concern may assist the brand new pressure unfold extra shortly than the delta variant, which took maintain within the US over the summer time. The vaccines which are authorized by the US Meals and Drug Administration have proved to be extremely efficient in stopping extreme sickness. Individuals who stay unvaccinated account for practically all hospitalizations and deaths.

A number of research present that the effectiveness of vaccines could begin to decline after six to eight months. Current research say a booster dose of Pfizer exhibits 95.6% efficacy in opposition to COVID-19.

We’ll inform you the present particulars of the brand new omicron variant and Pfizer’s vaccine, in addition to who’s eligible for the booster shot right now. For extra on COVID-19, this is what we find out about COVID-19 vaccines for teenagers, and this is the most recent steerage on masks and on breakthrough infections. Here is what it’s best to know in regards to the new federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates — and what to do when you misplaced your vaccine card.


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What are Pfizer’s plans for the omicron COVID-19 variant?

Pfizer said it is investigating the new mutated COVID-19 strain and is working to have more information about how effective its vaccine is against the omicron variant within two weeks, Reuters reported. If the drug-maker needs to create a tailored version of its vaccine to guard against the omicron variant, it could have the updated vaccine available in approximately 100 days, it said.

Moderna said it’s now working on a vaccine candidate modified for the new variant.

Who’s now eligible for a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster?

The quick answer: All adults 18 years of age and older are now eligible for a Pfizer booster six months after receiving their second Pfizer vaccine shot. To underline the importance of the booster, the CDC urged those 50 years of age and older to get the third shot.

The FDA and the CDC gave a similar endorsement for a Moderna vaccine booster.

Does the Pfizer booster shot have side effects?

The CDC said those who received the Pfizer booster reported fewer side effects than after getting the second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine, with headache, fever, fatigue, pain and chills the most frequently reported mild side effects.

The CDC said as of Nov. 14, 99% of those who received the Pfizer vaccine for the first two shots chose to receive a Pfizer booster, with the rest picking a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster. Here’s more on mixing and matching vaccines.

Where can I get a booster shot?

According to White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, boosters will be available at roughly 80,000 places across the country, including over 40,000 local pharmacies. Some 90% of Americans have a vaccine site within 5 miles of where they live, Zients said, and getting a booster shot will be just as easy as getting the first shot. And the booster shot will be free too. 

You can check Vaccines.gov to see which vaccines are available where or call 1-800-232-0233 for vaccine information.

Why did Pfizer request authorization for booster shots for everyone 18 years of age and older?

If you’re fully vaccinated, the CDC had said you would continue to be protected from infection and especially against serious illness. All the COVID-19 vaccine shots authorized by the FDA continue to be “highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death,” according to the CDC.

Recent studies, however, show the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine can begin to wane after five or six months and a booster can raise your protection against infection, especially against serious illness. Albert Bourla, the chief executive of Pfizer, told the New York Times he anticipates the effectiveness of a booster to last a year, with annual booster shots possible to prop up immunity.

According to a recent study in The Lancet, those who received the Pfizer booster shot had a 93% lower risk of being hospitalized, a 92% lower risk of severe disease and an 81% lower risk of death, compared with those who had received their second shot at least 5 months before.

What about mixing and matching the COVID-19 booster shot?

The CDC said those who qualify for a booster shot can get any of the three available — a booster from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson — no matter which one they received first.

When can I get the Pfizer booster shot?

Now, if you’re eligible. At least 31 million people have already received a booster shot, the CDC reported on Friday.

State and local health officials have started to roll out campaigns to help the public better understand who qualifies immediately, according to the New York Times

Is the Pfizer booster the same as the first two shots?

Yes. According to Pfizer, its COVID-19 booster would be a third jab of the same vaccine you got with the first two doses. 

Pfizer is working separately with its partner BioNTech on a version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the delta variant.

For more on coronavirus treatments and vaccines, here’s what we know about monoclonal antibody treatments, the new federal vaccine mandates and why some people may not want the shot.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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