COVID-19 Vaccination Updates

Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose

On Sept. 24, UTMB Health and the Galveston County Health District began providing booster doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk groups. Now, the groups eligible to receive the COVID vaccine booster are being expanded based on occupational risks.

Last month’s announcement outlined vaccine booster dose eligibility for high-risk patients aged 18 and older and health care workers. Now, additional high-risk occupational groups have been approved by the CDC for the booster dose, and these include:

  • First responders (firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
  • Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Manufacturing workers
  • Corrections workers
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

Appointments for the booster dose can be made six (6) months after receiving the last Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dose at https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients#vaccine.

Frequently asked questions regarding the booster dose and the flu vaccine

Does the booster dose cause more side effects? 
A recent publication shows that the side effects caused by the booster doses are similar to the first two doses in the primary series.

From Aug. 12 to Sept. 19, there were 12,591 v-safe after-vaccination health checker registrants who completed a health check-in survey after all three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine were received. Those findings indicated that 79.4% and 74.1% reported local or systemic reactions, respectively, after the third dose, while 77.6% and 76.5% reported local or systemic reactions after the second dose, respectively.

Most of the side effects were not serious and were resolved within 48 hours. We encourage vaccine recipients to complete the v-safe survey at https://vsafe.cdc.gov/en/ to report their experience after the booster dose.

Can I receive my flu vaccine or other vaccines at the same time as the COVID vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with other vaccines, including influenza vaccines. There is no minimum waiting period between administration of the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines.

When will I be able to get the booster dose for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing the booster dose requests for Moderna and J&J vaccines. Full approval may be given by the FDA and CDC within a few weeks. Obtaining a booster dose from a different vaccine brand is strongly discouraged at this time.

If I have received a monoclonal antibody infusion after a COVID infection when can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Persons who have received monoclonal antibody treatment should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Thank you,

Janak Patel, MD
Director, Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology
Professor, Pediatrics/Infectious Disease

Philip Keiser, MD
Professor, Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases
Galveston County Health Authority
UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force Chair