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Riverside medical expert weighs in on a second COVID-19 booster shot

The FDA has approved anyone 50 and older can get a second COVID-19 booster shot.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Nearly 73 percent of Virginia's population is fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. While that's more than six million people, the CDC said less than three million Virginians have gotten a COVID-19 booster shot.

The FDA has now approved anyone 50 and older to get a second booster.

“We started administering the booster as soon as it was approved,” said Riverside Health System Vice President Cindy Williams. “We had people walk into our vaccine clinic yesterday for the booster, and some today."

Williams said people are eligible for the next booster at least four months after they get the first one.

“I think the dynamics are very different than when the original boosters were rolled out last fall,” she said.

Williams said with low COVID transmission levels, folks in that age bracket should assess their needs before going the shot.

“Not only their own personal risk factors due to age or medical conditions, but perhaps their living environment, their working environment.”

For example, Williams said she’ll urge her 89-year-old mother -- who lives in a retirement home -- to get the next booster. But, personally, she herself is going to wait.

“I fall into the category of 50 and older, where I am otherwise healthy,” Williams said. “I take precautions.”

Still, she said people should keep an eye on community COVID transmission rates. Right now, the CDC reports all Hampton Roads cities to have low COVID-19 community levels, meaning hospitals aren’t overwhelmed.

However, if you haven’t gotten your first booster yet, Williams recommends you at least check that box.

"If you have had the booster, what they are calling up-to-date at this point, you still have very good effectiveness against serious illness, hospitalization, and death,” Williams said.

People who are immunocompromised and are at least 12 years or older can also get a second COVID-19 booster shot.

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