What about boosters?

Dear LifeLong Staff,

Feeling confused about COVID boosters?  Don’t worry, it’s not you; it really is confusing.  Hopefully by the end of this message you will feel equipped with the information you need to make a decision about getting a booster shot.

Before getting to boosters, there is another situation that should be explained: Additional Doses.  People who are immunocompromised (based on CDC definition) should get an additional dose, because data has shown that they often do not get an adequately effective immune response with the normal 1-2 dose primary vaccine series.  For employees who are immunocompromised, I encourage you to seek out this additional dose; however, LifeLong does NOT currently require it to be considered fully vaccinated.

Boosters are recommended for certain categories of people based on various risk factors, at least 6 months after completion of their primary series. It is important to remember that even without a booster, the vaccines available are very effective.  Currently, LifeLong does NOT require employees to get a booster in order to be considered fully vaccinated, and proof of a booster is NOT being collected by HR right now.  

Because additional doses and boosters are NOT currently a condition of employment, and because they are readily available in the community, LifeLong will not be offering these shots to employees at this time.  For those wanting to get a booster shot, contact your healthcare provider or go to one of the many local community vaccination locations (i.e. pharmacies).  Our limited vaccination resources will be focused on vaccinating patients, with priority given to first and second shots (as well as additional doses for the immunocompromised).  Also, FDA approval for 5-11 year olds is imminent and we will prioritize this school aged group of children.

So, who should get a booster and how long should you wait?  The answer depends on what type of vaccine you received –mRNA (Moderna, Pfizer) or adenovirus (J&J).

I hope this information provides some clarity and helps you make your choice about a booster shot.  To keep up with the frequently changing recommendations you can access a helpful chart and the latest guidance with the following links:

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibilty (eziz.org)
COVID-19 Vaccination Guidance and Requirements (eziz.org)
Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC

Thanks for all that you are doing to help our patients and the communities that we serve get through this pandemic.  It has been a long and tiring 18 months!  While it may be hard to appreciate it, your work has lessened the impact on the highest risk communities and has saved lives. 

Best Regards,

Michael Stacey, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer