Memorial Hermann now offering COVID booster shots at walk-in clinics

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Monday, September 27, 2021
Places in Houston area offering COVID-19 booster shots
If you're eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, several places will allow to schedule that shot now. And we're learning more about the timeline to get the COVID-19 shot to young children.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you're eligible for a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot, there are several places allowing you to schedule that dose right now.

  • Starting Sept. 27, Memorial Hermann is offering the booster shots to eligible people at any of their walk-in clinics. Memorial Hermann advises that you speak to your doctor to determine if you're eligible for a booster. The hospital is also offering a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to people whose immune system is moderately to severely compromised.
  • As of Sept. 24, CVS is offering the Pfizer booster shot at select locations, including 495 locations in Texas. CVS recommends scheduling in advance to ensure the shot is available at the pharmacy of your choice.
  • Walgreens will allow you to schedule your vaccine appointment for a booster shot as well.
  • If you need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Houston Methodist is also offering that free shot.

There is a difference between a booster shot and an additional/third dose.

According to Memorial Hermann's FAQ page, a booster is intended to increase the level of protection for eligible individuals who received an initial Pfizer vaccine series at least six months prior.

A COVID-19 additional or third dose is intended to improve the response of moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals to their initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series. An additional or third dose can be administered at least four weeks following the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

So if you've heard a lot about third doses, that's why. Some people were already for eligible for a third dose, and some health systems, including Methodist, had already been giving them.

But last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, ruled in favor of making more people eligible for a booster. If you got two Pfizer shots at least six months ago and you fall into one of the groups below, you're eligible.

  • People 65 and older, nursing home residents and assisted living residents.
  • Others ages 50 to 64 with a long list of risky health problems including cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV infection and heart disease. Being overweight or obese is a category that qualifies roughly 70% of people in this age group.

The CDC also said the following groups may get a booster, but stopped short of a full recommendation.

  • People 18 to 49 who got their Pfizer shots at least six months ago with risky health problems can consider the booster based on their individual benefits and risks.
  • Anyone 18 to 64 with a risky job, such as health care, can consider boosters. Prisoners and people living in homeless shelters are also in this group.

Remember that this is only for Pfizer's booster shot. Moderna has applied to U.S. health regulators for its own booster, which would be half the dose of the original shots. The Food and Drug Administration is considering that application.

But health officials say they don't have enough data on mix-and-match vaccinations.

We have a full Q&A here on what to know about Pfizer booster shots.

U.S. health authorities said they're confident there will be enough supply for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and the young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the not-too-distant future.

Speaking of children, Pfizer's CEO, Albert Bourla, told ABC's "This Week" that the company plans to submit data to the FDA on vaccines for ages 5 to 11 in a matter of days.

"If they approve it, we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine because the vaccine that the kids will receive, which is 5 to 11, it is a different formulation. It is one-third of the dose that we are giving to the resto of the population," Bourla said.

A spike in demand for the vaccine, expected following last week's federal recommendation on booster shots, would be the first significant jump in months. More than 70 million Americans remain unvaccinated despite the enticement of lottery prizes, free food or gifts and pleas from exhausted health care workers as the average number of deaths per day climbed to more than 1,900 in recent weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.