City of Independence, Missouri

Public health directors: Eligible residents encouraged to get COVID-19 booster shot

Public health directors in the Kansas City region are encouraging eligible Pfizer vaccine recipients to continue protecting themselves and their families by getting the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot from a primary care provider or local pharmacy. Eligible individuals without a primary care provider are asked to contact their local public health department to learn how to arrange a booster dose.

On Sept. 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer (also known as Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine to allow a single booster dose for eligible groups at least six months after completing the initial two-dose series of the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA has identified the following eligible groups:

• 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 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19, including severe COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued further guidance on eligibility.

“The booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect higher-risk groups in our community,” said Frank Thompson, interim director of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department. “If you’re eligible, primary care providers and local pharmacies can provide a free Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot. No referral or prescription is needed. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, please contact your local public health department to learn more about getting your booster shot.”

After rigorously reviewing data to ensure safety, the FDA fully approved the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23 for people 16 years of age and older. It is available to those 12 to 15 years of age under emergency use authorization. Immunocompromised individuals age 12 and older are eligible for a third dose of the vaccine. Health and medical experts are recommending a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised individuals. Learn more about third doses on the CDC website.

“If you haven’t received your COVID-19 vaccine yet, start now so you can protect yourself and your family during the holiday season,” said Juliann Van Liew, director of the Unified Government Public Health Department. “Your primary care provider, pharmacy or local public health department can help answer any questions you might have about the vaccine. Vaccines are the best tool we have to slow the pandemic and get back to normal.”

Booster doses have only been approved for the Pfizer vaccine. The CDC has stated it will review recommendations for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as soon as data is available.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine or testing location near you, visit PrepareMetroKC.org.