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CDC Approves Pfizer Booster Shots For Seniors, Others At Increased Risk From COVID-19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Many people who have received Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are now eligible for booster shots, after the CDC gave final approval to third doses for three groups: seniors 65 and over, nursing home residents, and adults with underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus.

CBS 2's Tara Molina takes a closer look at exactly who is eligible for a Pfizer booster.

Doctors we talked to said they've heard from patients interested in this third booster shot for weeks. Starting now, people who meet the qualifications, and already received their first two Pfizer shots, can get that third dose.

It's third shot season. With the FDA's authorization and the CDC's approval, the booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine can start going out now for those fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago.

Those eligible for the booster shot include anyone age 65 or older, residents in long-term care settings, or anyone 18 and up  with underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, liver disease, immunocompromised conditions, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more.

The CDC says anyone age 50 and up with an underlying medical condition should get a booster, and anyone age 18 to 49 with an underlying health condition may get one, depending on their individual circumstances.

While the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children age 12 and up, no booster approval there yet.

We talked to two local doctors about how the third shot rollout looks here and exactly who can get it.

"People that have increased risk of exposure can be pretty broad," said Dr. Larry Kociolek, an infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital

Consider this line on eligibility from the CDC, it's not as specific as the others: "people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure to the public and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting."

"I think the CDC arrived at the decision for those frontline workers who are otherwise young and healthy as more of a personal choice," Kociolek said.

Both doctors told us this is going to be case by case, and if you have questions about your risk factors and whether your front-facing job could mean a booster shot is beneficial, you should check with your doctor.

As for those who have been vaccinated with the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines, and want a booster?

"Hold on, but it's coming quite quickly, okay? We really are in a sense of urgency to get that data, and to get those vaccines as boosters into the arms of everybody that's eligible," said Dr. Gregory Huhn, an infectious disease specialist with Cook County Health.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Friday it is adopting the CDC's recommendations for the Pfizer booster shots.

"While the vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing severe illnesses, hospitalization, death, as we learn more about COVID-19 and the science evolves, so too must our recommendations," said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  "Scientists and medical experts continue to monitor vaccines for waning immunity and how well the vaccines protect against new variants, and across which age groups and risk factors.  The information reviewed by the FDA shows that there is clear evidence of the benefit of booster doses at this time."

You can find a vaccine provider near you at

Molina checked-in with area pharmacies, too. Spokespeople for Walgreens and CVS both said they are ready and giving out booster shots now, but appointments need to be made ahead of time.

CVS Statement:

Following today's approval from the CDC based on guidance from the organization's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), CVS Health announced that select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations will begin offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations beginning today, Friday, September 24.Approximately 5,600 CVS stores across the country will be administering the Pfizer booster, including more than 230 locations in in Illinois and 43 of which are in Chicago.

  • Eligible individuals interested in receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster or their initial vaccine series can make an appointment at com

  • Advanced scheduling is strongly recommended for individuals looking to receive the booster shot to ensure that it is available at the pharmacy location of their choice.

  • To date, CVS Health has administered more than 34 million COVID-19 vaccines across the country and will continue to play a prominent role in delivering the vaccine.  

With one in four adults still without their first shot, doctors emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated.


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