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After Federal Approval, Virginians Can Now Get Moderna and J&J Booster Shots

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AP Photo / Ted S. Warren
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Now that federal regulators have given the OK, Virginians can now get booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Danny Avula – the state’s vaccine coordinator – says the department has been working with its various partners to get ready for the booster shot rollout.

It’s already been administering booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine after it was granted approval by federal officials last month.

Regulators also approved mixing and matching of booster doses, and VDH is encouraging Virginians to consult with their doctor to make the best decision.

Nearly two thirds of Virginians are fully vaccinated against the virus. The state has already administered more than 340,000 third dose and booster shots so far.

And while most of the attention is currently on booster doses, unvaccinated individuals remain at the highest risk of severe illness or hospitalization from the disease.

You can find more information about where to get a vaccine here.

Here's the entire statement from the Virginia Department of Health:

(Richmond, Va.) – On October 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced recommendations for booster shots for certain people who previously received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines. Virginians will be able to receive boosters for Moderna and J&J beginning today.

For individuals who received either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, a single booster is recommended at least six months after completion of their initial series for those populations who are 65 years of age and older, those living in long-term care facilities, and those 18 years of age and up who are at increased risk due to underlying medical conditions or where they work or live. A single booster is recommended at least two months after completion of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines for those 18 years of age and up.

The CDC also announced that there are now booster recommendations for all three available vaccines in the United States. Those individuals eligible for a booster vaccine may choose which vaccine to receive as their booster. Further guidance from the CDC in the coming days to help individuals understand these recommendations is expected.

The following statement is from Virginia’s State Vaccination Liaison Dr. Danny Avula, MD, MPH.

“VDH has been working with our vaccination partners — pharmacies, healthcare providers, hospitals and other institutions — to prepare for the booster rollout. In addition to these vaccination partners, Community Vaccination Centers (CVCs) are strategically located across the Commonwealth to ensure Virginians will be able to access a booster dose when it’s recommended. The move by the CDC to allow vaccine recipients to ‘mix and match’ vaccines for their boosters gives Virginians another level of choice in protecting themselves from COVID-19.

“If you decide to get a booster dose by mixing and matching, VDH urges you to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider who can assist you in making the best decision for your own situation. We also stress that all three vaccines authorized for administration in the United States are highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.”

Those who are unvaccinated remain at the highest risk of severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. This population remains VDH’s top priority. Everyone 12 or older is eligible to be vaccinated. To find free vaccines at a Community Vaccination Center or another location near you, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1). Assistance is available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 other languages. At Community Vaccination Centers, appointments are strongly encouraged to ensure you get the vaccine you want and to avoid extended wait times. Walk-ins are still welcome.

Nick Gilmore is a meteorologist, news producer and reporter/anchor for RADIO IQ. Nick joined the newsroom in 2016 and forecasts the weather for most of the state. He also works to get RADIO IQ’s award-winning journalism ready for broadcast.