Irvington Staff Are Now Eligible to Receive COVID-19 Booster Shots

The FDA recently authorized the use of booster shots, allowing eligible citizens, such as teacher, to get their vaccine.

Boston University

The FDA recently authorized the use of booster shots, allowing eligible citizens, such as teacher, to get their vaccine.

On Sept. 22, the FDA authorized a Pfizer-made booster shot for COVID-19, allowing seniors and people who have a high chance of contracting the virus, such as teachers, to receive the dose. The purpose behind these shots is to provide an additional “boost” for the immune system and maintain the protective effects of the vaccine against the virus. Even though children ages 12 – 17 are eligible for the vaccine, there has been no information released on when they will be able to take the booster shots. Superintendent Christopher Cammack sent an email to all teachers in the district, notifying them about their eligibility to receive the booster shots and potential places to get them at. The shots are now available in local pharmacies and healthcare facilities like Walgreens, Kaiser, etc. 

Currently, one of the main concerns eligible citizens for the booster shots have is whether they can “mix and match” their vaccines. This strategy of vaccination was approved by the FDA and allows people to choose the type of booster shot they receive (e.g. Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, etc.) regardless of the initial vaccine they received. However, information on whether it’s better to stick with a vaccine or switch has not been released yet. 

Governor Gavin Newsom is now trying to promote the COVID-19 booster shots to eligible citizens in California to prevent further cases from emerging. Recently, Newsom received his shot at an Asian Health Services clinic in Oakland’s Chinatown to reduce the potential fear Californians may have regarding the shots. 

Like Newsom, teachers in Irvington are also starting to get their booster shots. “There are many, many countries where vaccination rates are in single digits because they don’t have access to vaccines.” said Principal Chaney Aiello, who received her booster shot recently, “So I just want to recognize the privilege that we have with this access to booster shots. As long as you don’t have some sort of reason that your immune system can’t take it, getting the booster shot is a reasonable thing to do” . 

According to the CDC,the effects of the booster shot seem to be slightly milder than the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far. Possible symptoms, similar to the original vaccine, include headaches, low-grade fevers, fatigue, muscle aches, etc.

Public health experts hope that this shot will help to smoothen the transition to in-person learning, since additional immunity against COVID-19 will be strengthened. Given the school’s poor-quality ventilation system, further discussed in the IHS Voice’s article “Irvington Air is Circulating: Concerns Over Particulate Matter Remain,” getting this booster shot could keep teachers safe from the virus in their classrooms. 

“As a teacher, I definitely think getting the boosters can help increase confidence over safety concerns in the classroom. Immunizations are one of the best ways to reduce the spread of disease and so I think this is definitely a great way to keep the school safer” commented Mrs. Linton, who plans to get her boosters soon. 

Right now, booster shots are primarily based on the formulation of the original vaccine. However, this could change with time as experts are studying the mutations of recent variants of the SARS-COV-2 virus to create better vaccines. Since the virus can mutate and form new, virulent strains, experts are now leaning towards the possibility of administering annual COVID-19 vaccines for people. This system is similar to the annual flu shot people receive during the fall and winter to protect themselves from new influenza strains.   

“Overall, I’m very happy with the way that Irvington is currently dealing with the COVID situation given that our cases are right now in the single digits. I think getting the booster shots will help us maintain that,” said Principal Chaney Aiello.