The Louisiana Department of Health is now recommending booster shots for people at high risk who have gotten the Pfizer vaccine.
LDH says there are three groups of people who are now eligible to get the booster shot.
Of the eligible groups are people aged 65 and older, adults who live or work in a setting that puts them at risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and those 18 or older who have an underlying health condition.
“The protection you get weens a little bit over time, and six to eight months out from completing your series, you still have good protection. You still have significantly more than 50% more protection. You still have really, really good protection, but it does ween a little bit from where it was before,” LDH State Health Officer and Medical Director Dr. Joseph Kanter said.
Dr. Kanter says people now eligible to get the Pfizer booster shot include those with health conditions like hypertension, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer.
“When that all gets put together, the benefits of the booster shots in select individuals outweigh the risks,” he said.
LDH says nursing homes, homeless shelters, schools, restaurants, and even jails are places where transmission can be high. Those who work or live in these places are now also eligible for the booster shot.
“The evidence suggests that giving a third dose of, in this case, Pfizer at least six months after you got the initial two doses, is safe,” he added.
Dr. Kanter says the peak of COVID-19 cases in Louisiana was mid-August, and the state is now on the downswing for percent positivity.
He says to reach an end to the pandemic, however, it’ll take more than booster shots.
“The data for boosters is good, but we cannot and won’t boost our way out of this pandemic,” he said.
“The number one focus now and going forward will remain getting more people vaccinated to begin with. That’s going to be our number one focus. That’s what’s going to protect our community going forward,” Dr. Kanter said.
For the people who took the Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines, the CDC and LDH say they may soon recommend booster shots for those groups as well.