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Pennsylvania Officials Ready To Provide COVID-19 Booster Shots Once They're Approved By CDC

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania health officials say they're ready to provide COVID-19 booster shots once they're approved by the CDC. There's a lot of anticipation about booster shots, but no official recommendation at this time.

The Pennsylvania Health Department issued a new order Tuesday telling providers to get ready.

"We now have more than 3,200 providers making the vaccine easily accessible," Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said.

She issued an order to make sure COVID-19 booster shots can be efficiently distributed once there is official guidance from federal officials.

Vaccine providers in Pennsylvania will be required to:

  • Make online appointments available
  • A phone number for scheduling
  • Offer walk-in appointments
  • As well as help coordinate at-home shots for people who can't leave their homes

"While we cannot begin administering booster shots until we have formal approval and guidance from the CDC, we can assure you that first, we have the vaccine available in Pennsylvania and second, providers are ready," Beam said.

The booster debate has been a moving target.

On Friday, the FDA advisory committee voted against recommending Pfizer's booster for people under 65, but the third shot is recommended for seniors and at-risk people.

Next, the FDA will review the committee's recommendations, then the CDC will have the final say.

A CDC advisory committee is set to meet on Wednesday, but that's only for the Pfizer vaccine booster. Moderna and J&J will be considered separately.

There's understandably a lot of confusion.

"I think the lack of clear messaging is certainly going to confuse people, and it's going to make it harder for some people to get that third shot if they need it, or maybe even some people their first shot," Dr. Ashish Jha said.

At this point, a third vaccine dose has only been approved for those who are immunocompromised.

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