RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)- Second booster shots are becoming available in Virginia after the federal government authorized them earlier this week for certain groups.

Christy Gray, the director of the Division of Immunization in the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Epidemiology, said the general public staying up-to-date on their coronavirus immunizations remain well protected from severe disease without a second booster. She said the limited authorization from the CDC and the FDA gives those most at risk for hospitalization and death another tool to build up their immune system.

According to new CDC guidelines being adopted in Virginia, second booster doses of Pfizer and Moderna can now be given to the following populations at least four months following their first booster dose.

  • Adults aged 50 years and older
  • Adults aged 18–49 years who received Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine as both their primary series dose and booster dose
  • People aged 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (Moderna’s vaccine has yet to be approved for emergency use in teenagers, and its booster is authorized for immunocompromised people 18 and older)

“This recommendation is in the category of ‘may’ as opposed to ‘should’ be getting a booster vaccine,” Gray said. “What we really want people to have is the information in order to make an informed decision for them. What is their personal risk? What is their situation?”

Virginians are encouraged to consult with their healthcare provider to decide whether or not to receive a second booster.

To get the additional shot, Gray said Virginians should visit pharmacies, healthcare providers and health departments.

Unlike earlier phases of the vaccine rollout, permanent mass vaccination sites are not in operation.

“There’s no plans to stand those up at this point. We know we have plenty of vaccines in the field and we think that our existing provider networks, including pharmacies, will be able to meet this demand,” Gray said.

About one million Virginians are now eligible for a second booster, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Nannie Mae Akbar is one of them. She’s wasting no time making an appointment.

”Get all your shots. You keep yourself healthy, you keep others healthy,” Akbar said.

Meanwhile, nearly half of those eligible in Virginia haven’t gotten their first booster yet, according to Gray.

Nathaniel Roots just took that step on Thursday after putting it off for months. He’s in no rush to get another jab, even after the four-month wait is over.

“I’m going to wait on that one like I waited on this one,” Roots said. “I don’t like the shots.”

Gray said, on Wednesday, the number of doses that were administered was higher than the state’s trend has been for several weeks, suggesting some Virginians are eager for a second booster.

According to VDH data, 6,246,363 people are fully vaccinated, or 72.7% of the population. Overall, 2,908,307 Virginians have received one booster or a third dose.