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CVS, Hy-Vee now offering Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster

(WEEK) -- CVS Health is offering the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot following CDC approval and Hy-Vee is following suit, after approval by the FDA and CDC -- beginning today.

Based on guidelines from the CDC and the organization's advisory committee on immunization practices, the booster is recommended for these groups at least six months after their second vaccine dose:

  • Long-term care facility residents
  • People 65 and older
  • People aged 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions
  • People 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditionsmay receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, based on their individual benefits and risk
  • Individuals ages 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting

People who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not eligible for the booster.

Both CVS Health and Hy-Vee strongly encourage people to make appointments via their respective websites.

“We have the experience and the infrastructure to play a leading role in administering booster shots to eligible populations,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health. “We also continue to make it as convenient as possible for the unvaccinated to receive their first doses.”

When scheduling an appointment with CVS, patients will be asked to provide the manufacturer and date of their last COVID-19 vaccine and will be able to schedule an appointment for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose if they have had two previous doses with the same vaccine at least six months prior. Per guidance from the CDC, patients will be asked to self-attest to their eligibility as defined by the eligibility guidelines, to help reduce barriers to access for these select populations.

The booster vaccines are free to all eligible patients, regardless of their insurance coverage.

Booster Dose vs. Third Dose

While both the Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose and third dose contain the equivalent amount of vaccine, there are some key differences between the Pfizer-BioNTech booster and the third dose, which was authorized in August 2021, according to a release from Hy-Vee:

BoosterThird Dose
Recommended at least 6 months after second dose Eligible populations: - Long-term care facility residents - Individuals ages 65+ - Individuals ages 18+ with underlying medical conditions (as outlined by the CDC) - Individuals ages 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settingRecommended at least 28 days after second dose Eligible populations: - Ages 12+ who are moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals (as outlined by the CDC)   *According to the CDC, individuals who received a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech, should NOT receive a booster dose at this time.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine primary series (doses 1 and 2) is authorized for individuals 12 years of age and older. The second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be administered at least 21 days after the first dose.

At this time, there is not an authorized booster dose for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients ages 12-17.

Hy-Vee said it is recommended (but not required) that vaccine recipients bring the following to their appointment: insurance card (if they have insurance) and Medicare Part B red, white and blue card (if Medicare recipient); photo ID; and their COVID-19 vaccination record card. Masks are required. If individuals do not have insurance, they can still be vaccinated. Individuals receiving a COVID-19 booster or third dose will need to self-attest to their eligibility. Individuals will NOT be required to show documentation to prove eligibility.

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