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Surgeon General Says Here's When to Get Your Booster Shot

Boosters will be available to some starting September 20th.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Certain Americans can get their COVID-19 vaccine booster shots starting September 20th, it was announced today. "Our top priority has always been protecting people and their families from COVID-19. And we have been fortunate to have safe and effective vaccines that offer an outstanding protection against the worst outcomes of this virus, severe disease and hospitalization," said Vivek Murthy, the Surgeon General, at the White House COVID press briefing today. "And then the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in the United States have been remarkably effective even against the widespread Delta, but we knew that even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time…. It is now our clinical judgment [that the time for a plan for] COVID-19 boosters is now." Read on to see why you should get yours and when—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Surgeon General Says Protection Decreases Over Time

Female and male doctors wearing masks and uniforms are visiting to check the symptoms of middle-aged female patients lying in bed.

"Recent data makes clear that protection against mild and moderate disease has decreased over time," said Murthy. "This is likely due to both the waning immunity and the strength of the widespread Delta, even though this new data affirms that vaccine protection remains high against the worst outcomes of COVID. We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduce protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death. That is why today we are announcing our plan to stay ahead of this virus by being prepared to offer COVID-19 booster shots to fully vaccinated adults, 18 years and older. They will be eligible for their booster shot eight months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines." No timetable was announced for those who got the J&J vaccine.


Here's When You Can Get Your Vaccine

Temporary Corona vaccination center in warehouse with cabins.

"We plan to start this program the week of September 20th, 2021," said Murthy. "I want to be very clear. This plan is pending the FDA, conducting an independent evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose at the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines…..The plan ensures that people who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout will be eligible first; this includes our most vulnerable populations, and our health care providers, nursing home residents and other seniors. We will also begin delivering booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities."

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Surgeon General Said Here's Who Exactly Should Get Their Boosters First

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"We all want this pandemic to be over," said Murthy. "And right now our quickest path to getting COVID-19 under control once and for all is getting vaccines to those who need them as quickly as possible. So here's what you need to know. If you are fully vaccinated, you still have a high degree of protection from the worst outcomes of COVID-19 severe disease, hospitalization, and death. So we are not recommending that you go out and get a booster today. Instead, starting the week of September 20th, fully vaccinated adults will begin getting their booster shots eight months after their second shot of an mRNA vaccine." There's "a plan for Americans who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines to get a booster shot eight months after receiving their second doses, starting Sept. 20. Health care workers, nursing home residents and other older adults who were vaccinated early will be first in line, starting then, contingent on authorization by federal regulators," says the New York Times.

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Surgeon General Said the Decision Was Not Made Lightly

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"I want to emphasize that this decision was not made lightly," said Murthy. "It was made with careful consideration by the top medical and public health experts and the Department of Health and Human Services. It was informed by the data thoughtful analysis and by our collective years of experience, addressing illness and epidemics as always, we will continue to follow the science on a daily basis and we'll take whatever steps are necessary to protect our nation from COVID-19 this plan to administer a booster doses does not change our commitment to vaccinating. Those were not yet vaccinated here in the U.S. and around the world. The overwhelming majority of hospitalizations and deaths continue to occur among the unvaccinated."

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Surgeon General Said Efforts Will Ramp Up to Stop COVID

Woman wearing face mask looking at camera showing thumbs up after getting the covid-19 vaccine.

"We will continue to ramp up efforts, increase vaccinations here at home, and to ensure people have accurate information about vaccines and access to vaccinations. We will also continue to expand our efforts to increase the supply of vaccines for other countries building on the over 600 million doses. We have already committed to donate globally. ….and we will not stop until America and the world are back to standard against COVID-19. I'm speaking to you today, as your Surgeon General, but most importantly, as a fellow American, who has felt the pain of losing family members to this disease and who hears it each day, the stories of people whose lives have been upended and forever altered by COVID-19 the brave doctors and nurses in our hospitals, the teachers working to get our kids back to school and the frontline workers who have put themselves on the line to make sure we can get groceries and supplies."

"And finally," said Murthy, "all of us let's do everything we can to protect our communities from COVID-19. That means encouraging our family and friends, our patients, and students, our coworkers, and neighbors to get vaccinated. That is our path." So get yours when it is available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek