COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout and Distribution

Updated: October 1, 2021

In late 2020, vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were granted emergency authorization for use in the fight against COVID-19. Effective August 2021, the Food and Drug Administration granted full authorization for use of the Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in people ages 16 and older. The Pfizer vaccine remains under emergency use authorization for those ages 12 through 15, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines remain under emergency use authorization for anyone age 16 and older.

The FDA’s authorization of the Pfizer vaccine comes as the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread, and breakthrough infections become more frequent, intensifying the urgency to get as many people vaccinated as possible. It is hoped that the FDA’s full authorization of the Pfizer vaccine will encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Studies have shown that fully vaccinated people with breakthrough infections are less likely to become seriously ill and need hospitalization than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19. Those who are unvaccinated and become infected are 30 times more likely to become seriously ill. Though the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine to gain full FDA authorization so far, all three vaccines have proven highly effective in preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19.

Booster shots are now recommended for certain Pfizer vaccine recipients.

The FDA has authorized use of the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for people who previously received the two-dose regimen of the Pfizer vaccine AND belong to certain eligible groups. The Pfizer booster is identical to the first two vaccine doses and can help maintain adequate protection for people with weakened immune systems and those in certain occupations with a higher risk of exposure.

You are eligible to receive a booster dose if you previously completed the initial two-dose regimen of the Pfizer vaccine AND belong to at least one of the four groups below:

  • People aged 65 and older.
  • Long-term care facility residents aged 18 and older.
  • People aged 18 and older with underlying conditions.
  • People ages 18-64 who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, such as healthcare and essential workers.

Booster-eligible individuals can schedule an appointment at your local CVS or other pharmacy or your healthcare provider. For other vaccine locations near you, visit www.vaccines.gov.

People who initially received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will have to wait for their boosters to be authorized by the FDA, which could still be a few weeks away. Moderna has requested authorization for boosters, and Johnson & Johnson is expected to do so soon.

Regardless or your booster status or eligibility, you are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of the J&J vaccine. Now that boosters are available, the CDC anticipates that the definition of being fully vaccinated will change over time and will be updated.

Stay protected and stay informed

It is important to continue following CDC guidelines in order to protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19. Vaccinations are available at many locations, such as hospitals, pharmacies, and health departments, as well as at short-term locations – sports stadiums, theme parks, and other venues. Additionally, it is recommended that you continue following COVID-19 safety protocols: wear a mask to protect yourself and others, wash your hands frequently, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) apart and avoid crowds.

The DGA-Producer Health Plan continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates on www.dgaplans.org and in future Spotlight on Benefits newsletters as new information becomes available. You are also encouraged to consult your state or county department of public health for the most up-to-date information in your area. Refer to the list of resources below for links to vaccine-related information.

Resources:

Find a COVID-19 Vaccine: