Baylor begins distributing COVID-19 booster shots to first eligible group

New approval of COVID-19 booster shots leaves Baylor students with questions about availability and requirements. Joshua McSwain | Photographer

By Camille Cox | Staff Writer

On Oct. 21, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all three booster COVID-19 vaccinations — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — for those who currently qualify for the additional shot.

Currently, the booster shot is available nationwide for eligible individuals, such as those who are 65+ and those who are 18+ with an underlying medical condition.

Dr. Sharon Stern, Baylor Health Services medical director, said the booster shot is now available for eligible individuals at the North Village Community Center.

“We have been giving boosters, and they are available now,” Stern said. “You can make an appointment for them just in the same way you can make an appointment for anything else online in the portal.”

Stern said the booster shot allows the body to rebuild immunity — similar to the flu shot, which changes annually to combat the evolving strain of the virus.

“The booster shot has been approved mainly to improve immunity, which probably has waned over time, and so it is important to get a booster in the same way that it is important to get a flu shot every year,” Stern said.

According to the CDC, recipients of the booster shot can choose which vaccine they would prefer to receive.

“Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster,” the CDC said in its press release on Oct 21. “CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix-and-match dosing for booster shots.”

Cypress sophomore Jolene Nhan said she will get the booster shot once it becomes available to her in order to keep herself and others safe.

“The concept is the same for other vaccines — especially the flu and how much that changes — and because we don’t know enough about COVID, it’s safe to assume that the variations are going to change,” Nhan said. “So I think that a booster will help maintain our immunity toward COVID.”

Eligible individuals can get the booster shot six months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two months after their dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“I do think the booster shot will open up pretty soon to basically everyone because we don’t have the kinds of problems with the supply that we had with the initial release of the vaccine,” Stern said.

Stern said those who get the booster shot could range from having no symptoms afterward to experiencing a sore arm or a feverish feeling.

“It is temporary, and typically, those side effects go away in a day or two,” Stern said. “It’s been very mixed; some people have more of a reaction than others.”