Alabama state health officer weighs in on CDC's Covid-19 vaccine booster recommendation

The CDC released these recommendations early Friday.

Posted: Sep 24, 2021 2:15 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2021 7:08 PM

The CDC announced its recommendations for the third Pfizer COVID-19 shot. Even Alabama state leaders admit, it is not black and white. 

"This is a very confusing situation," State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. 

Nonetheless, certain groups like those 65 and older can walk into a clinic and receive the third dose. Harris admitted the final recommendation that came down early Friday morning from the CDC was not entirely what the state expected, but he stands by it. 

It only applies to those who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine six months ago. 

Within that group, people 65 and older and those living in long-term care settings should receive the third dose. In addition, people 50 and older with underlying medical conditions are also recommended for the third shot. 

Those conditions can include heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, HIV, any condition that affects the immune system, persons with body mass index over 30, persons with liver disease, persons who live in long-term care.

However, the CDC does include groups it believes may receive the third dose. Harris said this means it is more fluid whether or not just because you fall under these next categories, you need the booster shot.

This group includes anyone 18 to 49 with underlying conditions or anyone 18 and older who are at an increased risk based on where they work. He said this includes people like health care workers, first responders, or educators.

"If you have a job where you are face-to-face, you know within six feet, with lots of different people with lots of different households, especially if you don't know their vaccination status, then you're someone who has had significant risk and I think you can imagine a lot of situations that that applies to," Harris said. 

Harris said if you are unsure whether or not to get the third shot, have a discussion with your doctor.

He said Pfizer's two-dose vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older. However, none of these recommendations include anyone younger than 18. 

He said he expects more clarity on that decision in the future.

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