Curious about boosters? We took your questions to an expert.

SPOKANE, Wash. — We’re all working to end this pandemic and create a new normal and now we’ve got one more defense in doing just that: booster shots for millions of people.

We’ve been asking you: What questions do you have about COVID boosters? Then, we took your questions straight to a local expert.

Late Friday afternoon, The Washington State Department of Health announced booster doses are now available for all three COVID-19 vaccine types for some individuals.

This follows recommendations from the FDA, CDC, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. Booster doses of Pfizer have been given to more than 345,000 people. Now, Moderna and Johnson, and Johnson also have seats at the table.

At least six months after completing the primary Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, the following groups of people are eligible for a booster dose:

For those who got the J&J vaccine, it’s recommended everyone 18 and older get a booster dose. Essentially, that completes your primary series.

“Although it also might be thought of as a second shot to compete for that first series, it’s recommended after two months following the first. That’s where the mix & match is really a nice option. People can choose to get a J&J booster of a Pfizer or Moderna as that second shot,” said Dr. Lasalle, a Multicare Rockwood Family Physician and American Academy of Family Physician Vaccine Science Fellow.

You don’t have to stay committed to the vaccine of your initial first or second shot. Experts are telling us: go ahead, mix and match.

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“There is some evidence, it’s early, but there is some evidence that boosting with something from another vaccine will give you an even better immune response,” Dr. LaSalle explained.

Moderna’s booster vaccine will be the only one giving a smaller dose as compared to the first two.

“It’s a half dose. That’s all they found was really needed to stimulate a strong immune response,” Dr. LaSalle said.

Some people are wondering if this is what the future will look like: a booster every six months. Right now, it’s hard to say.

“Once we have these booster doses, the next question is how long is that immunity going to last? Is it going to last just another six months or is it going to last longer?” Dr. LaSalle said.

For women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, the recommendation is the same. You can get that booster six months after the initial dose, regardless of if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

“Whatever you experienced in your first series, you can expect to experience in your booster,” Dr. LaSalle told us.

Finally, we’ve seen breakthrough cases and as a result, some people are wondering, “Is this worth it?”

“We need to focus on the fact that one of the biggest goals is to keep you from dying, to keep you out of the hospital,” Dr. LaSalle said earnestly.

You can find more information about boosters and the COVID-19 vaccine by calling the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. You can also find information online here.

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