As booster shot approvals start to roll in from the federal government, here's how to find out if you're eligible to get one in Massachusetts.
Roughly 600,000 residents are now eligible and can register for COVID vaccine booster shots six months after their second dose, the Baker administration announced Friday. Recommendations to get the third shot may come for other groups of people as more data becomes available.
In the meantime, people approved for a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine -- seniors and and people at risk of COVID because of underlying medical conditions or their job -- can find a location to get one at vaxfinder.mass.gov.
The Pfizer booster shot is only available for people who got the Pfizer vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely need a booster shot. More data on that is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Who is eligible?
- People 65 years and older
- Residents of long term care settings
- People aged 18 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions
- People aged 18 to 64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their work or institutional setting
Vaccines that have been approved and authorized in the U.S. continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, experts say. But the virus that causes COVID-19 constantly evolves.
Despite the surge of different, more contagious variants like delta and possibly mu, faith among Boston-based doctors in the efficacy of COVID vaccines hasn't wavered.
"The biggest threat to people who are vaccinated is the continued spread of delta and other variants among the unvaccinated," said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of Brigham and Women’s Hospital's infectious diseases division. "That's really where the reservoir of infection exists and that's where the spillover cases come from."
The state expects to be able to give out more than 300,000 of the booster shots each week by the middle of October, officials said.
More than 4.6 million people across Massachusetts are fully vaccinated -- among the most per capita in the country -- and nearly 99% of Massachusetts seniors have received at least one dose.