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Tri-County residents must wait out ‘process’ before Moderna, J&J COVID-19 booster shots arrive

211014 Monica Hendrickson 1.jpg
Joe Deacon
Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson speaks Thursday during the weekly Tri-County COVID-19 health briefing at the Noble Center in Peoria.

Peoria City/County Health Department Administrator Monica Hendrickson says it may still be a while before Tri-County residents can get Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots.

On Friday, an FDA advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend authorization of booster doses for the J&J vaccine for people over 18, two months after receiving the initial dose. A day earlier, the same panel approved Moderna half-dose boosters for those 65 and over or in high-risk categories after at least six months.

“That doesn't mean that our community of health care providers, pharmacies and the health department can start giving it away immediately,” Hendrickson said during Thursday’s weekly Tri-County COVID-19 health briefing. “It still needs to go to the final FDA approval, and then it will move over to the CDC where they'll actually give us a guidelines.”

Hendrickson said the approvals from the FDA advisory panel are just the first step in a process to make the supplemental vaccinations available to the public. The booster protocols next require full FDA approval before heading to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We expect to have the CDC make recommendations about the boosters for both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson around Oct. 20-21,” said Hendrickson. “So operationally, we should look after that to be able to start providing it in our communities.”

Hendrickson said she understands people may be excited and anxious to get booster doses as soon as possible.

“But it's still step one in a multi-step process,” she said, adding they will communicate with the public when the boosters arrive. “Check our website, our Facebook posts, your health care providers, and even your pharmacies. We're all being ready and prepared, but we just need to make sure we go through that final process.”

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