Philly Health Department to begin administering Pfizer booster doses Saturday

In this June 11, 2021, file photo, a healthcare worker administrates a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a student during a vaccination clinic

In this June 11, 2021, file photo, a healthcare worker administrates a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to a student during a vaccination clinic. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health will begin administering doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster Saturday to those who are eligible.

The department’s announcement Friday afternoon followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s endorsement of Pfizer booster shots for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans.

“We all know how dangerous COVID-19 can be for older Philadelphians, those living in nursing homes, and those with underlying conditions,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “With the authorization of booster doses for people who have completed the two-dose regimen of Pfizer vaccine, we can now be sure that they have the maximum level of protection, and I encourage everyone that’s eligible to seek out their booster dose as soon as possible.”

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The booster is recommended for people who received a second dose of Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and are 65 and older, or live in a nursing home, or are between ages 50 and 64 with underlying medical conditions that put them at risk of serious complications from COVID-19.

The CDC also recommended that some other higher-risk people should consider getting a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine in the same time frame after their second doses. These people include those who are ages 18 to 49 who have underlying medical conditions, and people who work in higher-risk jobs, such as health care workers and teachers, or in other higher-risk occupational or institutional settings.

Separately, some people with certain immunosuppressive conditions who were vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna should get an additional dose four weeks after the second dose.

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Research has shown that some people who have completed the two-dose regimen of the Pfizer COVID vaccine have experienced waning immunity over time, though the vaccine still provides impressive protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

The Health Department has recommended to all COVID vaccine providers in Philadelphia that have Pfizer vaccine to begin administering booster doses to all eligible people. Pfizer booster doses will be available anywhere the Pfizer vaccine is being administered.

The Health Department provided further information on eligibility for the booster shot in a blog post, and how to find the closest clinics where the Pfizer vaccine is available, as well as other COVID-19 vaccines.

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