SAN LUIS VALLEY - Public health agencies have been fielding a lot of calls and questions about booster shots for COVID-19 after the FDA approval for Moderna cleared Wednesday and breakthrough cases punctuate news reports.
For most healthcare providers, FDA approval is not enough to immediately begin providing booster shots, though that can be done “off-label” by providers who want to do it and have the liability on their license. To make sure the vaccine is as safe as possible, another process must be followed that involves approval from the CDC and a regulatory panel called ACIP, or Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This is expected to happen by the end of this week.
Once approval has gone through, the vaccine can then be ordered and be shipped to local providers. This can take several days for rural counties such as those in the San Luis Valley. Our agencies report that they may be able to begin scheduling booster appointments as early as next week.
Currently, the FDA only recommends boosters for those over 65 years of age, those 18 and up with a high risk of severe COVID-19, and those 18 and up who have frequent exposure due to where they live or work.
The good news is, recent CDPHE data suggests that the COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide high rates of protection, even against the Delta variant. And those who are immunized are much less likely to be hospitalized and to have a milder illness if they do contract the virus.
For information on where to find proctored testing sites and vaccinations in the SLV, see www.slvphp.com or call 719-480-8719.
If you are feeling stress related to COVID-19, the Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program can help. Services include individual and group counseling, stress management, community education, and resources and referral. Call (719) 480-2650 for more information.