Looking for a COVID booster shot in Norwalk? Here's where you can get one

Emily Carrizzo adminsters the shot to Caraval Jeep employee Leo Loyola during the Griffin Hospital COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Stew Leonard's flagship store Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Norwalk, Conn. The free clinic continues Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at the Norwalk store.

Emily Carrizzo adminsters the shot to Caraval Jeep employee Leo Loyola during the Griffin Hospital COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Stew Leonard's flagship store Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Norwalk, Conn. The free clinic continues Wednesday, June 16, 2021, at the Norwalk store.

File photo / Hearst Connecticut Media file

NORWALK — With more than 12,000 local residents 65 or older, a swath of Norwalkers who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine became eligible for a booster shot Friday, with the boosters available at city-run vaccination clinics throughout the week.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration expanded the vaccine’s emergency use Wednesday to allow single-dose booster shots for certain populations who received the initial vaccinations at least six months ago, according to an FDA statement.

Booster shot eligibility was expanded to include people 65 and older, people 18 to 64 at a high risk for COVID-19 and people 18 to 64 who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 due to their living or working conditions, according to the statement.

Currently only people who received the Pfizer vaccine are eligible for a booster shot, which is comprised of the same formulation as the primary shot series and can be used interchangeably, according to the FDA.

However, people who are immunocompromised and received the Moderna vaccine can get a booster shot. Officials have not granted approval for expanded eligibility for those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines.

“The CDC recommends those 65 and older and residents in long-term care settings should get a booster shot,” city spokesperson Josh Morgan said. “The CDC also recommends those 50-64 years of age with an underlying medical condition should get a booster shot.”

For people between 18 and 49 with underlying health concern, and people 18 to 64 at an increased risk of COVID exposure, the CDC takes a lesser stance, saying those individuals should consider getting a booster.

“Those individuals are encouraged to speak with their health care provider to discuss their personal situation and make a decision that makes sense for them,” Morgan said.

Pfizer booster shots will be available at Norwalk Health Department-run vaccination clinics, but as appointments are not required, there is no guarantee a Pfizer vaccine will be available.

“There is ample supply in the retail sector, so we encourage those who are eligible to make an appointment with a local provider,” Morgan said. “That ensures the vaccine is available, with a limited wait at a convenient time.”

In receiving a booster shot at a city-run clinic, Norwalk Health Department checks the CT Wiz online immunization records portal to ensure that a person did receive the Pfizer vaccine and it has been six months since their second dose, Morgan said. For medical conditions, people are asked to complete and sign an attestation form.

Since late August, when discussion and administration of vaccine boosters began, Norwalk Community Health Center experienced an increase in demand for vaccines, Family Nurse Practitioner and Director of Clinical Operations & Healthcare Innovation at Norwalk CHC Rebecca Kaplan said.

“We are offering the booster dose of Pfizer in accordance with the CDC guidelines, six months post second dose, and have also followed the recommendation of Pfizer or Moderna booster if immunocompromised, 28 days after second dose,” Kaplan said. “Because there is not a centralized database in the state where all of this historical data is pooled, our nurses review if the timing is appropriate, based on patient report and/or their vaccine card.”

Although everyone has moved to the CT Wiz platform, previous immunizations — especially those given from December to April — are in the VAMS system, Kaplan said.

Norwalk CHC continues to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics for its patients each Tuesday. Norwalk CHC patients can receive booster doses at these clinics as well.

“And we are partnering with the Norwalk Public Schools to bring our Medical Mobile Unit COVID-19 vaccine team to the middle schools, to immunize 12- to 16-year-olds,” Kaplan said.

All of Norwalk’s residents 65 or older, about 12,000 people, are vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to Department of Public Health data.

People who live or work in prisons and nursing homes are among those who qualify for a booster shot, as well as health care workers, teachers and day care staff and grocery store employees, according to the statement.

For a list of vaccine providers, residents can visit covidvaccinefinder.ct.gov.

abigail.brone@hearstmediact.com