Here’s who can get a COVID-19 booster shot in TN

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 27, 2021 2:39 PM CT | Published: September 27, 2021 1:35 PM CT

Seniors, people with underlying medical conditions and those who work in high-transmission environments can get a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Tennessee Department of Health has announced.

The announcement Friday, Sept. 24, came soon after the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended booster shots. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed the recommendation Friday.

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Some groups may get a booster dose, while other groups should get it, health officials said. Booster shots should come no sooner than six months after the second dose.

“It’s important for those who have weaker immune systems to get that third dose,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said at a press conference earlier this month.

Here are the recommendations:

  • People over 65 should get the booster.
  • People 50-64 with underlying conditions should get it.
  • 18-49 year-olds with underlying conditions may get it.
  • 18-64-year-olds at high risk of transmission, whether through work or institutional setting, may get it.

Local health departments and other vaccine providers will administer the doses. Appointments are not required, the Department of Health says, and patients do not need to prove their eligibility.

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The announcement from the CDC contradicts the World Health Organization’s recommendation — not because booster shots are medically risky, but because of the inequitable distribution of the vaccines.

WHO is calling for a moratorium on boosters until the end of the year as part of a goal to vaccinate 40% of people in all countries, which it refers to as a “critical milestone to end the pandemic and for global economic recovery.” That recommended moratorium does not apply to immunocompromised people.

According to Our World in Data, 44.5% of people worldwide — but only 2.2% of residents of poor countries — have received at least one dose.

“Despite adequate total global vaccine production in the aggregate, the doses are not reaching low- and lower-middle-income countries in sufficient amounts, resulting in a crisis of vaccine inequity.”

President Joe Biden’s administration has argued it can provide boosters and give shots to the rest of the world at the same time.

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Last week, Biden announced the federal government would buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to donate to poor countries by next June, 200 million of which will be delivered by the end of the year. That’s on top of a donation of at least 80 million doses earlier this year, plus $2 billion to COVAX, an international organization aimed at vaccine equity.

”We’re not going to solve this crisis with half-measures or middle-of-the-road ambitions,” Biden said, according to NPR. “We need to go big.”


Tennessee Department of Health World Health Organization COVID 19 vaccines

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Ian Round

Ian Round

Ian Round is The Daily Memphian’s state government reporter based in Nashville. He came to Tennessee from Maryland, where he reported on local politics for Baltimore Brew. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland in December 2019.


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