VDH moves forward with ‘mix and match’ approach to COVID-19 boosters

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:57 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s a busy day at Hope Pharmacy in Richmond. The phone’s been ringing off the hook with people wanting an appointment to get a COVID-19 booster.

“We’ve given about 20 boosters so far this morning and people are excited,” said Shantelle Brown, the owner of Hope Pharmacy.

In Virginia, if you are 65 and older, or in a nursing home, you can now get a booster of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, in addition to the Pfizer booster that was already being offered.

Boosters are also available if you are 18 and older with an underlying medical condition or are considered at-risk.

“I think there is more data that needs to be collected before we have a clear path for people to say what should you do. At this point talking to your provider or just making a decision based on preference,” said Dr. Danny Avula, Virginia’s Vaccine Coordinator.

Also, if you previously received the Johnson & Johnson shot, you are allowed to choose a different company’s brand for that next dose.

“We did have one mix. It was a person who had Johnson and Johnson and they went with the Moderna and we don’t advise our patients either way. We’re just here to give them the information and all of the facts,” said Brown.

Pharmacies aren’t the only place to get a booster. Now you can also visit the large vaccine clinics in our area, like the one at The Richmond Raceway, to mix and match your booster.

The state’s vaccine coordinator says eligibility could open more in early 2022.

“I think we will continue to follow the data on young adults who are healthy and don’t have occupational risk. We know that over time that immunity will wane. It will decrease over time. The question is when will it decrease for the point that a boost actually makes sense,” said Dr. Avula.

Meanwhile, Richmond - Henrico Health Districts won’t start administering all three boosters until next week. The first clinic will be on Tuesday at Second Baptist Church.

Health leaders in the state have already planned to get boosters rolled out for up to 600,000 Virginians.

Dr. Avula said they will continue to rely on pharmacies and providers to get booster shots in arms. However, there are also large vaccine clinics like the one at the Richmond Raceway and in Chesterfield that will help out.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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