READING, Pa. — The vaccination drive against COVID-19 continues in the U.S. Advisers to the CDC now recommend the third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable people across the country, including healthcare and front-line workers.
"They're that group that's at highest risk for bad disease requiring hospitalizations and death, so prioritizing those folks to go first makes sense," said Dr. Debra Powell, the chief of infections diseases at Reading Hospital.
Powell said she expects the Pfizer booster shot rollout to look similar to the way people received their first doses.
"The easiest way to do it is for patients and employees to reach out to vaccine centers," Powell said, "so if a local pharmacy is giving the medication, they can get it there."
Powell said studies show that immunity lasts for at least six months, so as the higher risk population starts getting the boosters, the younger, healthier people should be OK to sit tight.
"Everyone else just needs to be patient and wait their turn," Powell said.
Powell also said it's important for people not to mix and match vaccine brands.
"If you got the Moderna vaccine, their ruling should come out soon," Powell said, "and then they'll be able to get the booster but right now it's only approved for Pfizer."
The booster shots offer another round of protection and the goal is to make all three manufacturers' shots available in the near future.
"It's kind of like bouncing on a trampoline, because every bounce you get a little higher and higher," Powell said, "so we expect that you'll get higher levels of antibodies with this next dose and they'll persist for a longer period of time."