The Food and Drug Administration has expanded the eligibility of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to include the widest population of Americans to date.
As more people become eligible for a second or third shot, the availability and eligibility of the vaccine continue to be important for some North Texans. Individuals who are 65-years-old and over are eligible for the Moderna booster vaccine six months after receiving their second dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People aged 18 through 64 are also eligible if they exhibit high risk for a severe case of COVID-19 or experience frequent institutional or occupational risk of contracting the virus.
Similarly, those 65 and older are eligible for the Pfizer booster after six months from receiving their second dose. High-risk individuals who fall under the previous definition are also eligible. Anyone 18 years or older who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may receive a single-dose booster shot two months after receiving the primary vaccination.
The FDA stated each of the three available vaccines can be mixed and matched by booster-eligible people following the completion of a primary vaccination series. This vaccination option is the cause of hesitation for some students.
“Personally, I wouldn’t do that,” business management sophomore Suh Kapipi said. “If you already did one and it worked fine for you, might as well not change it.”
UNT students, faculty and staff can receive a booster shot on campus at the Student Health and Wellness Center after scheduling an appointment online at studentaffairs.unt.edu/student-health-and-wellness-center/covid-19-vaccine-information/booster. Doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson booster shots are all available for eligible individuals.
“I actually didn’t know that the shot was available,” education and history senior Jesse Martinez said. “I honestly only thought that testing was available on campus.”
UNT has also made the Moderna booster shot available for eligible students and staff at the Health and Science Center in Fort Worth. Recipients must bring their COVID-19 vaccination card to the appointment. HSC Health Priority Care is available at 817-735-5051 for more details.
Eligible Denton residents can schedule a booster shot appointment through the county’s online vaccine interest portal at dentoncounty.quickbase.com. The website offers eligibility verification through the current Texas Department of State Health Services guidelines. After signing up, participants receive status updates and communication about the availability of appointment slots. More information on registration and scheduling can be found by calling DSHS at 940-349-2585.
The CDC also offers a federal vaccine location database online at vaccines.gov for access to the vaccine and booster shots. Individuals can also text their ZIP code to 438-829 or call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance finding a vaccine location.
As of Nov. 16, 2,204,349 Texans have received a vaccine booster shot, with 58 percent of the state population fully vaccinated. In Texas, 62.3 percent of people have received at least a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In Denton County alone, 56.4 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Some students did not expect county and state vaccination rates to be over 50 percent.
“It’s surprising actually,” graduate counseling student Hailey Boland said. “That’s pretty good. I thought it was just healthcare workers getting it.”
Featured Image: Chemistry and Spanish student Susan Martin conducts a COVID-19 test in the Student Health and Wellness Center on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo by Bailey Jordan