Booster shots likely this fall, but some aren’t waiting


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — About nine months since COVID-19 vaccines were first administered, fears over dwindling efficacy and growing COVID cases has some people wanting an extra shot now.

The World Health Organization (WHO), CDC and FDA are still not recommending booster shots. This week, the WHO said holding off will ensure that doses are available in countries where very few people have been vaccinated.

However, some U.S. cities and other countries are giving the shots anyway. Israel is offering a third dose to elderly residents and San Francisco is now offering Pfizer or Moderna doses to people who got the J&J vaccine.

It’s a hot topic among Virginians as well. Fully vaccinated Virginians are seeing what Israel and San Francisco are doing and told 8News they want extra shots too.

8News asked state Vaccine Coordinator, Dr. Danny Avula, about this at a Wednesday news conference. His guidance is remaining in line with the federal government and WHO. “We’ve got to really have evidence to make guidance if we want to maintain the trust of the public,” he said.

They say it’s not time yet, despite evidence that vaccines may get less effective after about six months. The first covid vaccines went out about nine months ago.

Still, Avula said, “there has not been clear evidence of a need for a booster yet.”

Both Pfizer and Moderna have said their boosters will top off immunity, but agencies like the CDC are still studying it.

“We will all get to boosters,” Avula said. However, some Virginians don’t want to wait for the official green light. Some locals who didn’t want to be identified told 8News they’re successfully getting the extra doses anyway.

Avula said when the official time comes, “there will likely be a priority system based on risk,” which would mirror the first vaccine rollout that began back in December.

Dr. Avula said he expects boosters will be officially given out within a month or two.

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