With CDC approval granted, the Division of Public Health is urging providers to begin administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccine to eligible Delawareans.
Those who are eligible for booster shots include the following groups who were vaccinated at least six months ago:
- Seniors ages 65 and older
- Those 18 and older with underlying health conditions or who are immunocompromise
- Individuals in high-risk forward-facing jobs. Those jobs include, but are not limited to healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, postal service workers, child care center staff, long-term care workers, and those who work in congregate care settings like prisons or shelters
However, it may take a few days for providers to get up and running with booster shots so not all may have booster shots available immediately.
The CDC also approved mixing and matching vaccines Thursday. That means, for example, if you got the two-dose Moderna vaccine, you can get a booster of either Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson. Recipients can also stick with their original vaccine for a booster as well.
“There have been no issues around safety, and from an efficacy–or how effective it is perspective– the results have been good,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay.
It does look very safe and effective to mix-and-match.”
From a public health perspective, Rattay believes this will make the state’s vaccine program easier to operate.
“It’s more about convenience and just eliminating some of the confusion,” she told WDEL. “I would say if you’re eligible for a booster…go for convenience.”
Right now, there’s no “winning” vaccine combination that’s been identified. But combination vaccines could be studied in the future.
“It’s unclear, at this point, if there’s one mix-and-match combination that is superior to others. I think the most important message is any combination of the vaccines are clearly going to help prevent severe consequences of COVID,” said Rattay.
Moderna has proven to have the strongest efficacy of the three vaccines available, especially, when up against the Delta variant, which was responsible for the latest surge in cases.
As a result of its strong efficacy, the Moderna vaccine will only be administered in a half-dose as a booster shot for anyone who previously received the two-dose regiment or for those who seek to mix-and-match. Those who are immunocompromised, however, will receive a full dose regardless of their vaccine history.
All Delawareans ages 18 and older, regardless of their health or employment, who received the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine, are urged to get a booster shot if they were vaccinated at least two months ago.
“Johnson and Johnson one-dose only, now, months later its efficacy has decreased more than the other two, so it’s clear there’s a need for another vaccine for those who’ve gotten Johnson & Johnson, specifically our seniors,” said Rattay.
Those who got J&J can now get Moderna or Pfizer for their booster, if they so choose.
“Individuals who have received Johnson & Johnson as their starting vaccines, and then received one of the mRNA vaccines, they had a really strong good response,” said Rattay. “That may be a really good combination to start with Johnson & Johnson and then get Moderna or Pfizer. But the reality is any combination is going to be fine. The public doesn’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about this.”
So far, nearly 81% of Delawareans ages 18+ have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly 66% of those ages 18 and older have been fully vaccinated.
Members of the public who are eligible for a booster shot are recommended to seek vaccine at existing vaccine sites, including pharmacies, health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers (for patients), and standing DPH vaccine sites:
• Blue Hen Corporate Center: 655 S. Bay Road, Dover, DE 19901
• Georgetown Plaza: 19 Georgetown Plaza, Georgetown, DE 19947
• Canby Park: 1920 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805
• University Plaza, 256 Chapman Road, Suite 100, Newark, DE 19702
For a complete list of locations where vaccines are available, visit de.gov/getmyvaccine.