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Health Experts Say Benefits Of COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots Outweigh Concerns

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will begin to be available to the general public in September but raise several questions.

The booster shot does raise some concerns about rare cases of heart inflammation. Health experts say that should not deter you from getting yours.

While a booster is available right now for immunocompromised people, the rest will need to wait and pharmacies and healthcare systems are asking for patience.

If and when the boosters for Pfizer and Moderna are approved, the earliest they'll become available is on Sept. 20 and only for those who received their second shot at least eight months before.

Pharmacists say there will be plenty of supply and the distribution will be steady and organized but don't try to jump the line. They will check your vaccination card and the Pennsylvania state registry.

There is now some heightened concern about Pfizer and especially Moderna resulting in rare cases of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart, especially among young people. But while published reports say U.S. health officials are taking a closer look, an AHN cardiologist says the benefits of the vaccine and booster far outweigh the risk.

"To me, the risk of not taking the vaccine far and away trumps the risk of getting a small instance of myocarditis. People aren't dying from COVID vaccine-induced myocarditis. They're being discharged. They might have signs on MRI. They might have some signs in echo. They're not dying from it. They are dying from COVID-19," said cardiologist Dr. Robert Biederman.

Patience is the keyword in terms of getting the booster. Most people didn't get their second shot until the middle of spring and that pushes your eligibility into late fall.

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