COVID-19 ‘booster’ shots now available in Johnson County for some people — what you need to know

Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Following emergency authorization from the FDA and CDC last week, some individuals with compromised immune systems are now eligible to receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Hy-Vee and Balls Foods are among the commerical vaccinators in Johnson County now offering third shot "boosters." File photo.

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For Johnson County residents eligible for a third “booster” shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, there are plenty of options.

Mayor pharmacy and grocery store chains that have been administering vaccinations for months, now say those who qualify for a third shot to get additional protection agains the disease can get it at their locations.

In addition, the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment announced Monday night it would begin administering third-shot boosters to qualifying individuals at its walk-in vaccine clinic in Mission starting Tuesday.

Here’s what you need to know:

Am I eligible for a third shot right now?

Here is who the CDC says is eligible for a COVID-19 booster.

People who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Will vaccinators ask for proof of one of these conditions if I go for a third shot?

  • No, vaccinators are not allowed to ask for documented proof of an immunocompromised condition.
  • Still, some patients may be asked what makes them qualified for a third shot at a point of vaccination.
  • For instance, Balls Foods, which owns Price Chopper, Hen House and Sun Fresh, says vaccinators will “need to obtain an attestation from the patients of what makes them eligible,” though this falls short of requiring written proof.

Where in Johnson County can I get a third shot now?

  • Hy Vee: the Iowa-based grocery chain announced Saturday it was offering third dose shots to eligible individuals at all of its pharmacy locations.
  • Balls Foods: that includes pharmacy locations at many local Price Choppers, Hen House markets and Sun Fresh grocery stores.
  • CVS
  • Walgreens

What about the county? Can I get a third shot at Johnson County’s walk-in clinic?

  • Starting Tuesday, yes you can.
  •  JCDHE on Monday announced t would begin offering third-shot boosters of the COVID-19 vaccine at its walk-in clinic at 6000 Lamar Ave., Suite 140, in Mission, in addition to still offering first and second shots.
  • JCDHE also encourages anyone who has been fully vaccinated to reach out to their personal health care provider with questions about obtaining a third dose.

So, do I really need to be immunocompromised in order get a third shot?

  • Well, now we’re getting into ethics a bit …
  • ABC News reported last week that more than 1 million Americans had already gotten a third shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines before the CDC authorized limited third-shot use for those with compromised immune systems.
  • The official guidance from JCDHE and the Kansas Department of Health is that if you are fully vaccinated and healthy, you do not currently need a third shot.

What about if I got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Do I need a second shot?

  • Right now, the authorization for a third-shot “booster” for immunocompromised individuals applies only to the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • There are some hospitals in the U.S. starting to give “supplemental doses” of the J&J vaccine, but the commercial pharmacies offering boosters in Johnson County and elsewhere right now are only working off the guidance pertaining to Pfizer and Moderna.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information from JCDHE announced on Monday, after the original story was published.