Vaccines continue providing robust protection against hospitalization and death from COVID-19. But federal officials have determined that it is time for members of certain groups, including those 65 and older, to get boosters of the Pfizer vaccine if they are at least six months past their second dose.
Here are some quick questions and answers about what’s going on with boosters:
Q. If I received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine, should I get a booster?
A. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending boosters only for those who received the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen boosters are currently going through the FDA’s approval process.
Q. Who else should be getting a Pfizer booster?
A. In addition to ages 65 and older, federal officials also are recommending residents of long-term care facilities and people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions get a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine if they are at least six months past their second shot. In addition, CDC guidance says those ages 18 to 64 in high-risk professional and institutional settings and those ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions may get a booster dose of Pfizer at least six months after their second shot, based on their individual benefits and risks.
Q. Is there enough Pfizer vaccine to accommodate boosters and first doses?
A. Absolutely. You can get a Pfizer booster dose at hundreds of pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and other providers around Arizona. Nearly everyone in the state is within 5 miles of a provider offering the Pfizer vaccine. You can find one at azdhs.gov/FindVaccine or by calling our bilingual COVID-19 Hotline at 844-542-8201 and selecting Option 8.
Q. Do I need my vaccine card and other proof that I qualify for a Pfizer booster dose?
A. You’ll want to check with your provider for requirements on vaccination records. The CDC has said people must attest as to whether they are in one of the groups recommended for vaccination. Walgreens and CVS, for example, say patients need to show they are six months past their second Pfizer dose and then provide a self-attestation.
Q. What if I’m not sure whether I need a Pfizer booster shot based on a medical condition, my job, or the fact that I live in an institutional setting?
A. We strongly encourage talking with your primary healthcare provider if you have any questions about a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine.
Q. How can I get a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine if I don’t drive?
A. Fortunately, there are convenient locations offering the Pfizer vaccine all around Arizona. Our COVID-19 Hotline at 844-542-8201 (select Option 8) can link people to transportation resources. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) members who cannot provide or arrange their own transportation can contact their health plans to coordinate transportation to a vaccine provider or call 1-855-345-6432 to reach the transportation line. Transportation assistance is also available through some county health departments. Those needing to be vaccinated at home can contact their home health provider or seek information through their county health department.
Q. How can residents of long-term care facilities get vaccinated?
A. Those in long-term care settings should check whether their facility plans to offer transportation to vaccination providers or offer on-site vaccinations. ADHS and county partners are helping connect facilities with vaccination providers. Many long-term care facility residents in Arizona were vaccinated with Moderna, which is not currently covered under the booster dose recommendation.
Q. What if I still need more information about vaccines, boosters and provider locations?
A. Please visit azdhs.gov/COVID19Vaccines, azdhs.gov/Boosters, or call our bilingual COVID-19 Hotline at 844-542-8201 and select Option 8. To learn more about ways to protect yourself from COVID-19, please visit azdhs.gov/COVID-19.