Covid booster shots, news and opinion

Thus thread was started after a longish digression in the “breaking news thread”. @Aspenglow and I felt it was worth its own topic, and decided to move a bunch of the posts here.


So the deal is, Publix (based in Florida) stocked all of its stores with Moderna and certain counties had Pfizer. On their website there is a little disclaimer that the third shot is for people who are immunocompromised. The reality on the ground is, the Florida state authorities and health departments haven’t specified that the third shot is only for immunocompromised people, and they don’t ask when you show up for an appointment at Publix (based on second-hand knowledge, I haven’t gone in for my third Pfizer shot).

For example, old tweet,


So people are breaking the rules at various levels. A third shot is not authorized for Moderna except for immunocompromised people. A third shot for Pfizer is not officially authorized except for immunocompromised people, but now that it’s FDA approved, I assume a doctor can authorize it for anyone as, essentially, an off-label use until that becomes an on-label use in the near future. But it would require a doctor’s approval and, I presume, prescription.

The article I posted was specifically about the approval of a third shot for the general population. That won’t initially happen for Moderna. Only Pfizer will get it to begin with.

I am aware that people have been getting third shots by lying. (And I’ve posted about that.) If someone is a walk-in do they not have to fill out the same forms as when one makes an online appointment? (Which I believe requires stating that you meet the requirements.) Is the pharmacy not documenting that the client met the requirements? Or are the employees filling it out and lying on the form? Those latter ones are some serious issues.

The Florida forms don’t ask if you’re immunocompromised unless you want a live-attenuated vaccine (N/A for Pfizer and Moderna). As I said the reality is that you aren’t asked.

Look for yourself


That’s a consent form.

The Publix website makes clear just on the initial page, and moreso if you try to book an appointment, that it is for immunocompromised people. If Publix pharmacy employees are failing to ensure with walk-ins that they are giving third doses to people who are eligible, that seems like a huge issue for a medical services provider.

Okay, looks like you’re right. I found a Marion County, FL DoH announcement which reads,

Individuals can self-attest that they are immunocompromised and receive the additional dose wherever vaccines are offered. This will help ensure there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving a needed additional dose.

It’s interesting the number of people who have told me they got a booster shot, when I know for a fact they are not immunocompromised…

Also, not FL but


Yes, there have been a bunch of articles about people getting shots despite not being eligible. A Washington Post article I read included an ER doctor who’d been among the first vaccinated, who decided on his own to get a third shot back before any third shots were approved. He just went to a pharmacy and signed up for a different manufacturer’s mRNA shot, and said it was his first.

Ever since the vaccine has been available, people could lie one way or another to get initial doses when not eligible or now, additional doses.

While I didn’t like line jumpers in the early phases, that was due to restricted vaccine quantities. I’m guessing these days Florida has a hard time getting anyone to get a shot, so I’m not particularly concerned with who gets a booster.

I’m also okay with us simply giving them to other countries who desperately need them, if that is logistically feasible.

My husband filled out CVS’s online form when he looked to see if he was eligible for a booster. He has no underlying conditions, and answered all the questions truthfully. At the end of the questionnaire, it said something like “Congratulations, you have an appointment today at noon. Come on down”. He went and got his booster, and no one asked him anything further.

When I heard that, I went on a whim to a CVS near to where I work, over my lunch hour, to see about a walk-in for a booster. They sent me a link directly to my phone, and I answered their list of questions, checking off the immunosuppression one because I have an arguable condition. I wanted to discuss it with the pharmacist to see if I qualified because I wasn’t sure, and fully expected him to turn me away, which wouldn’t have bothered me. But he didn’t say a word - just sat me down and gave me the shot. When he opened the fridge containing the vaccines, I saw that he had a buttload of vials in there, and there was no one waiting for them in the vaccine area but me. I think they were more concerned with just getting shots into arms and not quibbling about restrictions.

As a practical matter, i don’t think any doses that have been distributed to providers will ever get to other countries. And while it would not doubt be better if those doses went to unvaccinated people here, i don’t think your turning didn’t a third dose is going to encourage anyone to get a first dose.

I’m not personally comfortable lying to get a medication, but i find it hard to hold it against someone else, especially someone old who got their initial vaccine more than 6 months ago.

I can’t wait until my booster, but according to guidelines I’m not eligible until January. I heard someone on NPR explain why you should wait, but he said ‘It could be six months, or it could be ten months. We’re just saying eight months.’

I want a booster, but I don’t want to get one so soon that it doesn’t have full efficacy.

Ditto. I want to make sure to wait long enough to get maximum benefit. That’s assuming they even let me do it. I’m not 65. We’ll see what the guidelines end up being.

How long does the protection from the booster shot last?

And how is the third dose a waste if you get it too soon?

We won’t know until we know.

It might last indefinitely. There are a handful of childhood vaccines that require three doses on schedule approximately 0 months, 1 month, 7 months.

It’s also possible that the immunity will wane somewhat quickly. Doctors currently recommend a new dose of whooping cough vaccine every time a woman gets pregnant. Previous studies found immunity to the coronavirus that cause the common cold to wane somewhat quickly. But maybe immunity to SARS lingers.

The only way to know is to do the experiment and wait to see the results.

For other vaccines there is typically a window for the booster to get the best results. I am not an immunologist, but my understanding is that too soon, and your existing immunity kicks in and the immune system doesn’t take the new challenge all that seriously. Too late, and your immune system may have “forgotten” this attack, and just treats it like new first dose. But if it’s just right timing, you can develop long and strong immunity.

Yeah, I think I am going to wait and get it at the prescribed time. I think the data’s still being gathered but last time I read about the subject, it seemed that there was a growing body of evidence that suggested longer times between jabs (as long as it’s not too long) was likely to produce more robust immunity, again keeping in mind the fact that ‘immunity’ will mean different things for different individuals.

Thank you. VERY helpful!

This is where I am, for the most part. I think we’ve gone too far in democratizing science, where people think they can just do some internet reading and decide for themselves what medicine to take, but I get it. And I find it hard to blame someone for wanting to get the vaccine.

I keep mentioning the current status because I think it’s important to not normalize or overlook this form of not following recommendations.

This attitude was around long before the internet, as evidenced by Isaac Asimov’s famous quote.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Yes, but it has extended now to the people who do support science and intellectualism. People aren’t just rejecting the advice of experts and deciding not to get vaccinated. They’re making decisions to get extra vaccination doses by lying because those doses aren’t approved for them yet. They could possibly get them legitimately by asking a doctor for a prescription, but they aren’t doing that either, because they feel qualified to make the decision themselves based on some internet reading.