FDA authorizes COVID-19 booster shots for all adults as Michigan becomes No. 1 hotspot in nation

Nov 19, 2021 at 10:02 am
click to enlarge Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II gets boosted. - State of Michigan
State of Michigan
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II gets boosted.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration officially authorized COVID-19 booster shots for all adults.

For Michigan, the timing couldn't be more urgent. The approval comes just as Michigan reached the dubious achievement earlier this week of becoming the No. 1 hotspot for the virus in the nation, breaking previous records for case rates and hospitalizations. As the data shows, the surge in Michigan is being driven by the unvaccinated, but it's not just a problem for the unvaccinated — since the vaccines appear to have waning immunity over time, as long as the virus is circulating in communities, booster shots will be necessary.

The new FDA approval streamlines eligibility. Before, you could get a booster, but they were set aside for people ages 65 and older or people with health conditions or living or working situations that could put them at higher risk. (In practice, that meant anyone who has a public-facing job could get one.) The boosters are available for people six months after they got their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two months after they got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's a good idea to get a booster, especially if you're planning on gathering with older or immunocompromised people. The boosters take between one and two weeks to kick in.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II got a Pfizer-BioNTech booster earlier Friday morning at a CVS Health Pharmacy in Detroit while wearing a Detroit Vs Everybody "Everybody Vs COVID-19" shirt.

In a statement, Gilchrist said he got the booster because he lost many people in his life to the virus. Early in the pandemic, the virus had a disproportionate impact on Black communities, prompting Gilchrist to helm a Task Force on Racial Disparities to guide the state's pandemic approach.

"After losing 27 people in my life to this deadly virus, I am making the choice to do what I can to protect myself, family, and everyone around me," Gilchrist said in a statement. "The safe and effective vaccines have been shown to be incredibly effective in preventing people from getting the virus, being hospitalized, or dying. That is why I am asking every Michigander to get their primary doses — for them and their kids 5 and older — or make an appointment to get a booster if you are already vaccinated. We can all safely gather around the dinner table with our loved ones this holiday season if we make the choice to protect each other."

Officials advise getting the same dose as you got before, but you can also switch. Many people experience side effects like aches, chills, and fatigue for about 24 hours after the shot. You'll need your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-issued vaccination card or an immunization record, which you can download at michigan.gov/MIimmsportal.

According to Michigan's health department, more than 1 million boosters have been administered so far. Vaccines are available for anyone ages 5 and older. You can find one a vaccinefinder.org.

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