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Local hospitals begin giving booster shots

Following the CDC’s move last week to authorize booster shots for certain populations local hospitals including Essentia Healthcare, St. Luke’s and Community Memorial are providing the booster shots. Appointments will need to be scheduled.

CMH CEO Rick Breuer said the Cloquet hospital held its first booster clinic last week for those with compromised immune systems.

The CDC has recommended the following groups should get a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second dose:

-People 65 years and older.

-Residents in long-term care settings.

-People ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions (refer to CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions).

The CDC also stated the following groups may get a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after the second dose, if the personal benefits for them outweigh the personal risks:

-People ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions (refer to CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions).

-People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of where they live or work.

“Getting fully vaccinated and following FDA and CDC guidelines for boosters remains the most effective means for preventing hospitalization for COVID-19,” said Dr. Peter Henry, chief medical officer at Essentia. “Most hospitalizations for COVID-19 are in unvaccinated individuals. Reducing COVID hospitalizations improves our ability to have adequate staffing and resources to care for the many other serious illnesses that existed prior to the pandemic, and that have been magnified by patients delaying care for chronic illness during the early stages of the pandemic.”

Interested and eligible for a booster dose? Community Memorial Hospital will be hosting clinics on the following dates/times. The clinics will be held on the ground floor of CMH, and only Pfizer BioNTech will be available. Call 218-879-1271 and press 2 to make an appointment.

Tuesday, Oct 5 10 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct 6 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday, Oct 15 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct 27 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Booster shots FAQ

~ text provided by Essential Healthcare

Who is eligible?

Those who completed the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech series at least six months ago and who belong to one of the following groups: people aged 65 and older and residents of long-term-care facilities; people aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions that make them especially susceptible to severe COVID-19; people aged 18-49 with specific medical conditions, based on an assessment of their individual benefits and risks; and people in the 18-64 age group who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission based on their occupational or institutional settings.

Why do I need a booster?

Especially with the delta variant, research shows waning immunity. A booster shot recharges your immune system and fortifies it against the virus. This is similar to receiving annual influenza vaccines.

What’s the difference between a booster shot and a third dose?

The product is the same; the primary difference is the timing of the dose. Third doses of mRNA vaccines for those with compromised immune systems can be given as soon as 28 days after the second dose is administered. Boosters are recommended for six months after the completion of the initial two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech series.

What about individuals who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines?

It’s likely you will need a booster shot of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Those boosters may come later this fall or winter. We are waiting on supporting data and further guidance from the FDA and CDC.

Will there be side effects from these booster shots?

Potential side effects mirror those from the first two shots — site pain, redness or swelling; fatigue; headache; muscle pain; chills; fever; and nausea. It’s important to remember that not everyone experiences side effects.

Does this mean there will always be a need for booster shots?

The CDC will continue to observe future COVID-19 vaccine needs, but it could be similar to influenza vaccines in which annual boosters are recommended. We don’t have enough information at this time to offer a definitive answer.