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Pima County adds 2nd COVID boosters for people over 50, immunocompromised

Following a new recommendation from the CDC, officials in Pima County are making additional COVID booster shots available for immunocompromised people and those over 50 at four sites managed by the Health Department.

On Tuesday, the CDC updated its recommendations on additional boosters, allowing people aged 50 and over to receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as a bulwark against the disease that has stricken over 2 million people in Arizona, and killed over 29,000 in the state.

The second booster shots will be available for people who received their previous booster at least four months ago, Pima County officials said. 

Currently, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are each available as a second dose, and those who received the single dose made by Johnson & Johnson can receive a booster. However, children ages 12-17 years old can only receive the booster made by Pfizer.

Officials noted that boosters are not yet ready for children ages 5-11.

The shots will be available at four sites, including the Abrams Public Health Center at 3950 S. County Club Rd., the Theresa Lee Health Center at 1493 W. Commerce Ct., Pima County's North Clinic at 3550 N. 1st Ave., and the East Clinic at 6920 E. Broadway.

Those needing a booster shot can go to pima.gov/covid19vaccines to check on clinic hours, including hours for mobile clinics and boosters. People can also make appointments at all four sites, though no appointments are needed for vaccinations at Abrams, Pima County officials said.

People are "strongly encouraged" to bring their COVID-19 vaccine cards to make the process faster, officials said, adding that patients under 50 will be asked to self-attest to being moderately, or severely immunocompromised. And, officials added that the CDC has a list of medical conditions that qualify for the additional booster.

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"These populations are most at risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19, and now they have a chance to increase their protection with a second booster dose," said Dr. Theresa Cullen, the director of the Pima County Health Department. "We recommend getting and staying up to date on all your COVID-19 vaccines."

On Tuesday, the CDC said that it would expand eligibility for the additional boosters.

"Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further," said Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the CDC's director. "This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time," she said.

"CDC, in collaboration with FDA and our public health partners, will continue to evaluate the need for additional booster doses for all Americans," Walenksy added.

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