People are lying to get an early COVID-19 booster shot, pharmacists say

Coronavirus

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Some folks aren’t willing to wait for the federal government’s green light to get a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, it seems.

A Centers for Disease Control report obtained by ABC News found an estimated 1.1 million have gotten an unauthorized third shot of Pfizer or Moderna already. The agency believes that number is even higher in reality, because the estimate doesn’t include those who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, then one dose of an mRNA vaccine.

The most third doses were administered in Florida, Ohio, California, Illinois and Tennessee, according to the CDC document.

Pharmacies in Arkansas report they’ve also been noticing people lying about their vaccination status to receive a booster dose before it’s approved. While health officials had hoped Pfizer’s full FDA approval would encourage the unvaccinated to get a shot, pharmacists on the frontline are saying the only noticeable result they’ve seen is more people lying that they’ve never received a COVID-19 vaccine to get the third dose.

Carl Collier, a pharmacist in Northwest Arkansas, said others have resorted to schmoozing him.

“Friends of Carl, you know it’s amazing. Hey Carl, hey buddy remember in high school when we were… yeah and how about another dose?” said Collier, recounting conversations he’s had recently. 

Currently, the CDC only recommends a third dose for those who are immunocompromised. Boosters are set to be distributed to the general population in the fall.

One doctor is concerned people’s eagerness now could backfire in a few months.

“The immunity that the vaccine offers waivers over time,” said Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health. “If you get it too early, it doesn’t help you as much if you wait until the right interval, and people don’t understand that they’re too eager to get it.”

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