VA offers COVID booster shots starting Wednesday

Starting Wednesday, the North Florida/ South Georgia Veterans Health System (NF/SGVHS) will begin offering Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shots under the Emergency Use Authorization.

This decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and CDC recommendation for a booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to:

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risk
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine six months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks

“Our facility knows that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is truly a team effort and we will continue to make sure that we are doing all we can to protect veterans, staff and the North Florida/South Georgia community against COVID-19,” said Dr. James Waller, NF/SGVHS deputy chief of staff and COVID-19 vaccine coordinator. “Our staff is preparing to offer Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots to those at highest risk, following the FDA and CDC recommendations.”

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NF/SGVHS sites will begin offering the Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccines starting Wednesday, Sept. 29, to veterans and employees, first prioritizing those who are 65 years and older, residents of long-term care facilities, and people aged 50 to 64 years with underlying conditions. The VA will also offer the booster to veterans, their spouses, caregivers and the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) recipients under the authority of the SAVE LIVES Act, as supply and capacity permits.

The Save Lives Act which was signed into law in March 2021 expanded the VA’s authority to offer vaccines to include veterans not traditionally eligible for VHA care, and others including spouses and caregivers of Veterans.

“We currently have four sites within our health system that will be administering COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech Booster shots,” stated Waller.

Individuals that meet current criteria can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech booster vaccine by calling 352-548-6000 ext.103755 to schedule an appointment or by attending a no appointment needed vaccination clinic at one of the following sites:

  • Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, 1601 SW Archer Rd., Gainesville, FL 32608
    No appointment is needed.
    Primary Care Waiting Room (located on the first floor near Valet Parking) Monday- Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    Independence Parking Garage Monday- Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
    Gainesville Auditorium (Near Canteen) Monday- Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • American Legion Post No. 57, 2602 SW Main Blvd., Lake City, FL 32025
    No Appointment Needed
    Monday- Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Individuals who meet the current criteria for the Pfizer-BioNTech Booster will need to bring their COVID-19 vaccination record card with them. The CDC advises that people can get both the COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time.

“Veterans can also obtain their flu shot at any of the sites of care currently offering the Pfizer-BioNTech Booster shot during the same visit,” said Waller.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only booster shot authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC. For more information, visit VA’s Questions webpage for questions and answers regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.

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