Richmond prepares for COVID-19 boosters ahead of CDC recommendation

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond is making a plan for giving out COVID-19 booster shots if the CDC recommends it for the Pfizer vaccine.

Tuesday, Dr. Danny Avula said CDC guidance about who can get booster shots could come as early as this week, and thousands of area residents could qualify.

Last week, the FDA Advisory Committee recommended a third Pfizer shot, but only for those at high-risk or those age 65 and older.

At Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s weekly briefing, Dr. Avula said the state has already been preparing for the decision.

“We expect the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices to vote by the end of Thursday and the CDC to adopt that recommendation on Thursday or Friday. We’ll be ready to roll shortly after that,” he said.

In Richmond, about 18,000 people, who are 65 and over or are considered at high-risk, will qualify for the booster starting next week.

“I think between our community hubs, our footprints for our pharmacies and our providers we should be in pretty good shape to manage that demand and we certainly have plans to scale up if needed,” he said.

On the heels of Pfizer announcing vaccine effectiveness in children five to 11 years-old, Avula said we probably won’t see approval from the FDA until the end of October.

With Johnson and Johnson also announcing a second dose of their vaccine can protect against symptomatic infection and severe disease, Avula added that health leaders are still waiting for more data.

“Encouraging news. Again that’s the company releasing their data and we’ll wait for the FDA to make a final decision for when and who is eligible for that booster,” he said.

Avula said Moderna has not yet submitted their data to the FDA, however the rollout for boosters and Pfizer’s vaccine for children will look similar to the state’s current plan.

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