Oklahoma health officials said individuals who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 may be eligible to receive a booster shot as soon as next month.
Federal health leaders, including the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Wednesday the vaccine’s ability to protect individuals from the virus has shown to wane months after inoculation.
Deputy Health Commissioner Keith Reed said Thursday anyone who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines could be eligible for a third dose eight months after their second shot.
“At this time, we are awaiting FDA and CDC approval and clinical guidance,” Reed said. “Pending these approvals, the federal administration will allow the general public to access a third dose the week of Sept. 20th.”
The rollout of booster shots will prioritize health care workers and vulnerable populations such as those 65 and older.
“This closely mirrors the original rollout,” Reed said.
A booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also likely to be recommended in the future as well, according to state health officials.
Reed said the state has ample resources and established providers for the vaccine, which should make getting a booster easy for eligible Oklahomans.
“Now, not only do we have the supply, but we have many, many pandemic providers around the state. So, we anticipate that we can basically operate with a pretty rapid rollout,” he said.
Hospitalizations from COVID-19 continue to climb in Oklahoma. Health Commissioner Lance Frye said Thursday that 1,309 staffed hospital beds, or 22% of the state’s total, are occupied by a COVID-19 patient.
According to OSDH reports, 92% of all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are not vaccinated against the virus.
“I’m calling on those unvaccinated Oklahomans to help us by stepping up and getting their vaccinations now,” Reed said. “You're at serious risk of a severe and possibly life-threatening case of COVID-19.”