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Patients line up for COVID booster shots

Several people seeking the shot lined up outside St. Bernards Auditorium Tuesday, waiting for...
Several people seeking the shot lined up outside St. Bernards Auditorium Tuesday, waiting for the doors to open. Once inside, several healthcare workers were on standby, ready to vaccinate the community.(KAIT-TV)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 4:23 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Just days after FDA authorization, a local medical center is offering COVID-19 booster shots to eligible patients.

Several people seeking the shot lined up outside St. Bernards Auditorium Tuesday, waiting for the doors to open. Once inside, several healthcare workers were on standby, ready to vaccinate the community.

Vice President of Ancillary Services LeAnn Morrow, who oversaw the event, said the turnout was impressive and encouraging.

“We had a great turnout. We’ve been very busy here and we have a full schedule this week,” Morrow said. “We just encourage all that can get the vaccine to come out and do so. For the health of the community, we encourage those who can do it to come out and do it.”

Currently, not everyone is eligible for a booster shot. Eligible populations include:

  • Anyone 65 years old and up,
  • Residents of long-term care settings,
  • Persons aged 18-64 with underlying health issues, and
  • Persons aged 18-64 with an increased risk of virus exposure and transmission due to work or institutional settings.

The booster dose must be also administered at least six months after the second dose.

Currently, the authorization applies only to the Pfizer vaccine as of now, but Moderna and Johnson & Johnson could be next.

In addition to booster doses, the clinic also offered first and second doses, as well as a third shot for those who are immunocompromised. Although all of the shots are the same, the difference lies in timing and immune levels.

The first and second doses are the standard doses that have been widely available since late 2020. The booster and third shots, however, are relatively new.

According to Morrow, they may be the same shot, but the terminology differs.

“A third dose would be for immunocompromised persons. They are eligible 28 days after their second dose. But for a booster, that would be for six months after your second dose,” Morrow said. “Overall, it’s based on your condition. It’s the same dose but timing is the difference.”

Most attendees of the clinic were older populations, though dozens of healthcare workers also lined up for their booster shots.

Nicholas Bailey, a physical therapist at St. Bernards, said he happily took the shot not just for himself, but for those around him as well.

“I’m just doing everything I can to help out the community, and for my own personal safety as well to provide for my family,” Bailey said. “It’s for the protection of my patients as well. Aside from the masking precautions and everything like that, I’m doing everything I can to help the safety of my patients when I’m working with them.”

The clinics will continue indefinitely based on demand and turnout as the COVID-19 pandemic continues across Arkansas and the United States. For more information on when and where the clinics will be held, visit the COVID-19 Resource guide on the St. Bernards website.

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