Dr. Melissa Viray says Virginia Department of Health is preparing for future COVID-19 booster shots


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dr. Melissa Viray with the Richmond City Health District said in a press briefing Tuesday that they are preparing to administer booster shots in the future.

Dr. Viray addressed reports that federal officials anticipate we will see booster shots around eight months after the initial vaccination. She said that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been looking at studies to see how the vaccine has been performing in the real world.

“We have been waiting for the science and the data to tell us whether boosters would be necessary to maintain this high level of immunity,” Dr. Viray said.

More information should be released soon and could happen as early as the end of the week.

At this time, Dr. Viray said the official CDC and FDA guidance is that they are not giving booster shots to the general public, however, they may be coming soon.  

“We are ready, obviously, we are preparing right now both … at the local health district and statewide for the time when — very soon — we may be giving those boosters but it’s not quite yet,” Dr. Viray said.

Last week, the Virginia Department of Health announced they would make third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines available to moderately and severely immunocompromised people starting Aug. 14.

For individuals who are immunocompromised and received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine series, there is no recommendation yet on a third dose.

Dr. Viray said the third dose is needed because immunocompromised people were not able to generate the same level of immunity as people who have a normal immune system were able to do with two doses.

People who are immunocompromised and received the Pfizer of Moderna series should go ahead and get the third dose as long as it’s been at least 28 days from their initial series, Dr. Viray advised.

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