BILLINGS — Now that the CDC has granted approval for more people to get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, at least one pharmacy in Billings is seeing a rush to get shots.
At Pharm406 on Billings West End, more than a dozen people were lined up to get the boost Friday just after noon, which employees were happy to see.
Shantee Berish, a Pharm406 employee who lives in Billings, said she has an autoimmune disease and has already received her booster shot.
“You know, if you’re able to get it, I definitely recommend getting it. If you can protect yourself, then why wouldn’t you?” said Berish.
This week, the CDC approved the use of both the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna as COVID booster shots.
The booster shot is currently only for those who are over 65, immunocompromised, or working or living somewhere that puts them at high risk. Six months must have also passed since your last dose if you received Pfizer or Moderna.
“For Johnson & Johnson, you have to be at least two months out, for Pfizer and Moderna you have to be at least six months out. That at least isn’t an endpoint. If you are beyond those marks, you can still get the booster,” said Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton.
People also have the option to mix and match vaccines although there's not a lot of concrete evidence on whether it's better to stay the same or change it up.
“Initially the recommendation was if you started with one vaccine you should stay with it but now, we’re seeing that regardless of which vaccine you got initially you can get another vaccine as a booster. The vaccines are a little different so that may be a good way for people to go. It also makes it easier because any vaccine can be used as the booster,” said Felton.
People who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine are encouraged to get either Moderna or Pfizer vaccine this time around.
With both the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines now approved by the CDC, hospitals, physicians, and pharmacies around Billings have plenty of doses available, according to Felton. It is still unclear, however, if or when the majority of Montanans will be eligible.
For information on where you can get a booster shot in Billings, or whether or not you qualify visit RiverStone Health’s website.