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What you need to know about the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot

Dr. Esther Melamed at Dell Medical School answered questions about the booster shot amid its rollout in the U.S.

AUSTIN, Texas — The COVID-19 booster shot rollout is in the full swing across the U.S. 

The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin said the federal approval process for the shot can be "long and sometimes confusing" in a press release. So, Dr. Esther Melamed at Dell Medical made a video to help.

KVUE answers the frequently asked questions about the booster shots below:

Who is eligible for the booster? 

The Pfizer booster is, firstly, only available to individuals who received their last dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine over six months ago. People who got the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine cannot get the booster.

Also, the Pfizer boosters are only available to the following groups:

  • People 65 and older
  • People with underlying health conditions
  • Certain essential workers including healthcare workers and teachers

“If you’re in the 18 to 49 age group and at lower risk for severe illness from COVID, you might consider waiting to get a booster shot,” Melamed said in a video. “We’re expecting new and larger studies that will tell us more about the booster’s impact on the delta variant and provide more information on mixing and matching the Pfizer vaccine with other available vaccines.”

RELATED: More than 26,000 third dose and booster vaccines have been provided across Travis County

How effective are the Pfizer boosters? 

The third shot, or Pfizer booster, is expected to bring a person's antibody level up to the point it was after they had their second dose. However, everyone’s response is different, according to Melamed.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says the COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness appears to decrease over time, particularly for people 65 and older.

RELATED: Fact-checking 3 claims about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

Does the booster shot have side effects? 

Side effects have been reported in individuals after receiving the Pfizer booster, but they are similar to what people felt after their first two shots.

Melamed said soreness, fatigue, headaches and fevers should be expected.

“The main side effect that appears to be increased is swelling of lymph nodes in some patients,” she said.

RELATED: J&J seeks US clearance for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses

Where can I get a booster?

The Pfizer booster shot is widely available at pharmacies across the U.S. Doctors' offices and mass vaccination sites are also administering the boosters. Just like the first two COVID-19 doses, it is free to everyone.

For a list of who is offering the booster shots in Central Texas, click here.

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