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It’s September 20th — So What’s Up With Those COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters?

A pharmacist wearing blue gloves holds a small vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine.
A UCI Health pharmacist holds a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
(Chava Sanchez
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When President Joe Biden announced in Augustthat booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccines would be available beginning on Sept. 20, he gave one big caveat:

“Pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC’s Committee of outside experts, we’ll be ready to start this booster program during the week of September 20, in which time anyone fully vaccinated on or before January 20 will be eligible to get a booster shot.”

Here we are, in the week of Sept. 20. And while people who are immunocompromised can get a third dose now, those approvals that are needed to roll out boosters for everyone else haven’t come through yet.

An FDA advisory panel on Friday rejected Pfizer boosters for people ages 16 and older, instead supporting a more limited booster rollout for those 65 and older or who are “at high risk of severe COVID-19.” (The CDC committee has yet to weigh in with its recommendations).

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Meanwhile, booster shots for people who are not immunocompromised have become a hot topic of debate. On the one hand, Pfizer claims its data shows another shot can help boost waning protection. On the other hand, critics of the booster plan cite limited data and insist the focus should be on getting first doses into the arms of the unvaccinated.

So for now, unless you're immunocompromised, providers are being instructed to not give you another shot just yet.

That said, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health — and other local vaccine providers — say they’re prepared to distribute boosters once the green light is given.

We’ve gathered everything we know about third doses (for people who are immunocompromised) and boosters (for people who are not immunocompromised) in this guide: “Here’s How To Get A Third COVID Shot In Southern California.”

What questions do you have about vaccines?