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Pennsylvania Following CDC Guidelines As Other States Move To Open COVID-19 Booster Shots To All

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Some states across the nation are going against CDC guidelines, opening booster shot eligibility to everyone 18 and older.

However, a spokesperson with the Pennsylvania Department of Health said the state is continuing to follow the rules.

KDKA's Amy Wadas: Do you think Pennsylvania should open up eligibility?

Joseph: Absolutely.

Joseph wasn't the only person in the community who KDKA talked to on Tuesday who feels this way. Beth Slaby said she already got her booster due to an underlying health condition.

"I don't really know what the reasons are that they wouldn't be opening it, but I think getting a booster right now is really the only thing that's going to help us squash this pandemic," Slaby said.

If you got the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, the CDC is telling adults to get a booster shot six months after completing the primary series if you're 65 and older, have an underlying health condition, or work or live in a high-risk setting.

If you got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, the CDC said all adults should get a booster at least two months after rolling up their sleeves.

"I think it's the right thing at this point to follow the CDC guidelines," Allegheny Health Network Internal Medicine Doctor Brian Lamb said.

Lamb said guidelines are created for a reason.

"Just opening up to say every adult over age 18 should get their booster right now doesn't really go with what the science is showing us at this point," Lamb said.

The doctor said the science points to the most at-risk getting severely sick from COVID-19. He said they are the people who fall under the CDC guidelines right now, not younger adults who don't have underlying health conditions.

"If you're a younger, healthier person who doesn't have high risk and had two of the mRNA shots, you can feel assured that you do have some protection," Lamb said.

Dr. Lamb said Pennsylvania is a large state and needs to be strategic.

"Not necessarily we would run out, but that we'd have longer waiting periods to get in. We'd have to start mass vaccine clinics again and try and get it to everyone," Dr. Lamb said.

Dr. Lamb wants to reassure people who already got the booster and don't fall under the CDC's guidelines not to worry.

KDKA also reached out to the Allegheny County Health Department, which released a statement, saying:

"For several weeks, Dr. Bogen has encouraged everyone eligible for the boosters – including people over 65 and anyone who is immunocompromised—to get them as soon as they can. She continues to share that message today. Throughout the pandemic, the Allegheny County Health Department has walked in lockstep with the State Department of Health. We meet regularly, confer often and plan together, and we will continue to do so. As such, we continue to urge everyone to follow CDC guidelines on everything COVID-related, from masking to social distancing to vaccinations."

Late Tuesday, the New York Times reported the FDA is looking to authorize booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine for all adults as early as Thursday.

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