The following is an update on eligibility for Covid booster vaccinations through the Calvert County Health Department. Since the Delta variant entered Southern Maryland in late July, an average of 10-12 Calvert residents have been hospitalized at any given time as a result of Covid infections. We cannot emphasize strongly enough how important it is for every eligible person to get vaccinated against this disease. Due to the increasing number of breakthrough infections since the introduction of the Delta variant, those eligible for booster doses should consider taking advantage of additional protection for themselves and vulnerable people around them. The FDA and CDC have authorized and provided guidance for people to receive a booster regardless of the brand of vaccine they initially received. They have also authorized people to receive a booster that is a different brand than their original vaccine, if they choose. Boosting a Johnson & Johnson vaccine with either Pfizer or Moderna likely improves immune protection to a greater extent than receiving an additional J&J dose. However, there is no current evidence that switching from Pfizer to Moderna or Moderna to Pfizer provides additional benefit. In order to receive a Covid booster through the Calvert Health Department, individuals must meet the following criteria: For those who initially received either Pfizer or Moderna vaccinations, at least 4 months have passed since receiving your second vaccine dose. It should be noted that the CDC recommends waiting 6 months after a second dose, but our local hospitalization data and a recent national study show that immunity begins wearing off after 4 months, particularly for those over age 50. There is no known harm in receiving a booster at 4 months rather than waiting until 6 months.
For those who initially received a Johnson & Johnson vaccination, the FDA and CDC recommend that at least 2 months pass since your previous dose, regardless of the brand you choose for a booster. The reason for the difference is that studies have clearly shown that immunity from the single-dose J&J vaccine wears off more quickly than immunity from the Pfizer or Moderna series. Booster recipients: Must be at least 18 years old, or Must be at least 16 and work in a high-risk setting, for example, work in a daycare or volunteer with EMS. Anyone under 18 desiring a booster will receive Pfizer, regardless of the brand of their previous vaccination(s) due to current age restrictions on the other brands. The Calvert Health Department strongly recommends booster doses for everyone who meets one or more of the following: Everyone 65 and older Everyone 50 or older with underlying health conditions Those younger than 50 who have multiple underlying health conditions or who live in a household with people at high-risk of Covid complications (see above groups). Anyone who works in a prioritized job classification should take advantage of the increased protection of a booster dose. The services you provide to members of our community are essential:
Nursing home staff
People who work or live in congregate residential facilities such as ARC housing, the Domestic Violence Shelter, Substance Use Treatment facilities, and the County Detention Center
Public transit and school bus drivers
Teachers/classroom staff and daycare staff. Boosters are especially recommended for those who work with children unable to wear face coverings due to developmental reasons.
To emphasize: The Health Department will not give boosters to those who had their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer less than 4 months ago or a Johnson & Johnson vaccine less than 2 months ago. People receiving Moderna as a booster will receive half of the original dose as currently recommended by the FDA and CDC. This includes people who choose to boost their initial J&J vaccine with Moderna. For those who are moderately-severely immunocompromised, you may receive an additional vaccination as soon as 1 month after your second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 1 month after your J&J vaccine. The CDC criteria for moderately-severely immunocompromised can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-cov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html. Anyone whose medical condition places them in this category should have a discussion with your personal physician to review other measures to protect your health in addition to full vaccination. Vaccine boosters can be obtained through many primary care providers and pharmacies. You can also schedule an appointment to be vaccinated by Calvert Health Department nurses using this link below or by calling 410 535-0218. Scroll down the page to find the date and brand of vaccine that is best for you: https://www.calvertcountycovid19.com/vaccination