BUFFALO, N.Y. — On Wednesday, federal officials said COVID-19 booster shots would soon be available to those who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, beginning in late September. That, all to maintain the protection the vaccines provide against the virus.

"We know from the studies that have been done, that this will give an enormous leap and jump in protection,” Tim Murphy, SUNY distinguished professor of Medicine at the University at Buffalo, said. “Even more than the first booster.”

What You Need To Know

  • Health officials recommend that those who received the Moderna of Pfizer vaccine get a booster shot. 
  • They say booster shots will be available late September. 
  • Infectious disease specialists say the booster shot will increase be a leap in protection against the virus

Murphy says the booster will give 30 to 40 times higher levels of antibodies and therefore more protection against the coronavirus. Doctors say the recommendation is proving to people that the vaccine is a necessary thing.

"People that have never even got their first shot … it's crossing their mind more," Dr. Jonathan Claus, Erie County Medical Center physician for infectious disease, said. 

Health care officials recommend people get the booster eight months after their second shot. Dr. Claus says most of those in the non-essential group just got fully vaccinated in March or April, while those grouped as essential were vaccinated earlier.

"They'll have some time and I think that's nice because it's rolling kind of, not everyone will be knocking on our door at the same time," Dr. Claus said. 

Many question what will be recommended to those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

"We don't have enough data yet to say that protect is waning with Johnson & Johnson," Murphy said.

"I think because it's type specific, I think Johnson & Johnson is going to do their own booster and that's coming out very soon where they're going to say how many months, etc.," Dr. Claus said. 

Doctors say this might not be the last booster needed for the vaccines.

"We are still having thousands of people a day positive,” Dr. Claus said. “Unless we reach herd immunity that way, next year we might be talking about another dose. Eventually it should go away.”

Specialists urge people to remember that while booster shots are good news, there is still a pandemic, especially among those who are unvaccinated. They say it is equally important to get those who have not yet received their first shot vaccinated.