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COVID booster shot confusion addressed by Valley expert

Of the 6.7 million vaccine shots administered this month, nearly 2.7 million were booster shots.

PHOENIX — Right now, the number of people getting booster shots is outpacing those getting their first or second doses of the initial vaccination, according to an NBC News analysis of CDC data.  

That analysis found the “booster boom” is contributing to a modest increase in COVID vaccinations this month and of the 6.7 million shots administered, nearly 2.7 million were booster shots.  

But with so much information coming out by the minute surrounding the boosters, it can be hard to keep up. There’s been some confusion surrounding what is and isn't approved and who’s eligible for what.  

The FDA added Johnson & Johnson to its emergency authorization list of covid booster shots with a unanimous vote on Friday.  

So far, Pfizer is the only option for a single-shot booster, but the Moderna and J&J vaccines have been “recommended” by the FDA.  

Both are expected to be formally approved by the CDC within a few weeks. 

RELATED: COVID-19 lung X-ray shows vaccine effectiveness

Team 12 turned to Dr. Shad Marvasti with U-Arizona to get some clarity. He explained why only some options for the booster shot are available.

“Because there was a back and forth.,” he said. “Initially they did release the booster shot for only people who are immunocompromised… and then they basically evaluated things further.” 

So, who’s eligible to get the Pfizer booster now?  

“If you’re over 65, you automatically qualify for a booster,” Marvasti said. “If you live in a long-term care facility like assisted living or skilled nursing facility.” 

He says people who are between the ages of 18 and 65 and have a chronic disease or are in a public-facing job, are also eligible to get a booster.  

“Health care workers, teachers, grocery store workers,” he said.  

Those eligible can get the Pfizer booster six months after the second shot.  

RELATED: FDA panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shot

Marvasti says you can get a booster at the same time as the flu shot, but he recommends spacing them out a few weeks and getting the COVID vaccine first.  

“COVID is much more deadly, COVID has the risk of long COVID, which you don’t have with the flu,” he said. “…And the COVID vaccine is much more effective than the flu vaccine… above 90%.”

COVID-19 Vaccine

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