COVID-19 jab booster OK’d; so what’s the plan in Ohio, Cincinnati?

Syringes filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine wait to be used at the Equitas Clinic and Pharmacy in Walnut Hills on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

Just because you got vaccinated against COVID-19 six months ago doesn't mean you'll be up for a booster shot anytime soon. Complete plans on how boosters will roll out in Ohio and in the Cincinnati region remain unclear and unfinalized, although some details are available.

A federal committee that advises the Food and Drug Administration on Friday rejected a plan to offer widely a third Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot. But the panel agreed to a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine six months after full vaccination for people aged 65 and older and those at high risk of severe COVID-19. Nothing will happen until a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel that decides how approved should be used meets next Wednesday and Thursday.;

In a statewide online news conference Thursday, Ohio’s chief public health official said vaccine distributors had been organizing another round of vaccinations in the state. But until the federal government speaks, said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, “We simply cannot finalize our plans.”

“We’ll be well-positioned to begin that distribution rapidly to whoever needs the booster,” he said. The state will track and report on third-shot vaccinations, he said.

Hamilton County Public Health Nurse Cora McGuire administers a vaccination against COVID-19, Monday, May 10, 2021, at Yorketowne Mobile Home Park in Sharonville, Ohio.

Amanda Carter, a spokeswoman for Hamilton County Public Health, said that once the federal guidance is issued, booster doses will be provided at current vaccine locations to those who meet the qualifications and have their COVID-19 vaccine card documenting the immunization series.

Cincinnati Health Department officials said that if directed to begin administering the boosters, scheduling would be through ArmorVax.

Alicia Shoults, a spokeswoman for the state health department, added, "Federal partners have assured us that the vaccine supply will be sufficient to support any approved booster program."

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