BUFFALO, N.Y. — Millions of Americans are still awaiting official word from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on whether it plans to allow COVID-19 vaccine boosters shots with the Pfizer vaccine for all adults.
Here in New York State, the Governor's Office has already said it's recommending people in high risk areas, such as Western New York, to get a booster shot if they're eligible.
This is what Governor Kathy Hochul said earlier this week during a visit to Buffalo: "This part of the state is a high transmission area, therefore, there is risk associated with living in a high transmission area. Anyone who lives in these areas and feels risk that they're at risk of catching this virus, they should go get a booster."
If you're looking to get a booster shot sooner rather than later, you may want to check your county health department.
The Erie Count Department of Health says it will give booster shots to anyone 18 and older as long as it has been six months after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two months after their dose of Johnson & Johnson.
According to Erie County Health Department's website, there are plenty of booster shots on Monday at ECC South and throughout the week except on Thanksgiving. Niagara County has plenty of appointments as well.
"We were already getting a lot of requests for the booster, even before the governor came out and said it would be available for more people. We're doing a lot of the boosters at all of our clinics. We're doing maybe two or three clinics a week," said Dan Stapleton, Niagara County's health director.
Pharmacies are a little different, they're part of the Federal Pharmacy Program, which requires them to follow federal recommendations on booster shots.
Those recommendations still breakdown eligibility depending on you're age, whether you have underlying health issues, or where you live or work in high-risk places such as schools and hospitals.
In the Buffalo area, we found limited availability at major pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid this week, with more availability next week.
Walgreens only allows people who got Pfizer and Moderna to get the same vaccine they previously got.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does allow for people to mix and match when they get their booster.
Dr. Raul Vazquez of Urban Family Practice prefers Moderna.
"What we've seen with the Moderna we use, higher micrograms initially with the two shots, you see an efficacy that's much higher," Dr. Vazquez said.
Dr. Vazquez has a vaccine clinic Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Durham Memorial Outreach Center. Make sure you bring a record of your vaccination card.
People could exhibit some symptoms such as chills and headaches after getting the booster shot.
"When we talk about people they might feel a little under the weather, say for 12 to 24 hours, that definitely could happen with any vaccine," Stapleton said.
If you have any questions, you are encouraged to the talk to your doctor.
"The Chautauqua County Health Department strongly encourages everyone eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot to get one," said Christine Schuyler, director of the Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services.
"The community transmission level of COVID-19 remains high here, actually new cases are now at a level that we have not seen since January 2021. We're facing a perfect COVID-19 storm: the Delta strain is much more contagious than last year's original strain, vaccine immunity is waning for those vaccinated 6+ months ago, fewer people are wearing masks, more people are gathering indoors without social distancing, and some areas have low vaccination rates so a larger number people are vulnerable."
She added: "These vaccines work. They are remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even against the Delta variant. Visit chqgov.com for information on vaccines in Chautauqua County."