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New COVID Vaccination Clinics Open As FDA Advisory Group Endorses Moderna Boosters

LOWELL (CBS) - On the same day an FDA advisory committee recommended Moderna booster shots for vulnerable populations, a new clinic opened in Lowell. Grocery worker Dan Beauregard was among the first to get a booster shot there. "Do my part like everybody else," he said. "Get the shot, get vaccinated, get America back on track and do what's right for myself and my family." He was eligible because his first shots six months ago were Pfizer.

With the FDA poised to officially approve Moderna boosters in the next few days, the staff at the new clinic, which is run by Cataldo Ambulance Service, is ready for a rush. "Right now, we're still not quite at that point where, back in the spring, that whole eligibility pool opened up, so it's coming I think in the next week or two," said Cataldo COO Kevin Turner. "We'll start to see a large number of people turn out for a booster shot."

On Friday, the same FDA advisory committee will consider boosters for Johnson and Johnson, which Susan Reid is hoping for. She showed up at Lowell's new clinic Thursday looking for a booster. "They turned me away, told me to come back," she said. That's because her first shot was J & J. "I just want to protect myself," she said. "I'm asthmatic and I have two children and one of them has COVID."

But experts are not clear on how much boosters will make a difference in the long run. "Whether this will really change the trajectory of the pandemic, I think nobody really thinks that is going to happen, especially in the face of so many unvaccinated people, and that's really who's driving the pandemic," said Tufts Medical Center infectious diseases Dr. Shira Doron. "I think probably the most important thing boosters can do for us, is protect the very vulnerable.

According to state health officials, more than 4.6 million people in Massachusetts have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and more than 226,000 have received a booster dose.

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