SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Booster shot clinics at The Oncenter Wednesday and Thursday booked up within hours of appointments becoming available.
When the 450 appointments for Wednesday filled up, Onondaga County and Kinney Drugs announced a second clinic with a similar number on Thursday. Those appointments were filled soon after.
The newly promoted president of Kinney Drugs, John Marraffa, told NewsChannel 9 that his pharmacies offered booster shots within 24 hours of the CDC approving them last week.
In terms of mass vaccination clinics for boosters, similar to the clinics held at The Oncenter and State Fairgrounds held earlier this year, he admitted nobody knew what the demand or interest would be.
Marraffa asked, “Were people going to be banging down the doors to get the booster or would people be able to wait patiently? I think the six-month window kind of helped because only certain people are eligible.”
The CDC has only approved booster shots for some people who received the first doses of the Pfizer shot: anyone age 65 years and older or people age 18 or older and have an underlying health condition or work or live in a place that puts them at high risk for coronavirus exposure.
The Oncenter clinics are for Pfizer only. Because of their popularity, Onondaga County and Kinney Drugs will consider hosting more.
County Executive Ryan McMahon said, “I think we will probably use The Oncenter location for a period of time to get that initial influx. A reminder: people can still go to their drug store now and get appointments now in their neighborhood.”
No matter which pharmacy, most booster shots are by appointment only. The date and brand of a patient’s first two shots need to be verified before the third shot.
Vaccine record cards will be relied on, but the Kinney Drugs president says the state database backs up the information if the cards get lost.
He says third shots aren’t scheduled for someone until more than six months after the second dose, down to the day.
Booster shots have not been approved for people who got doses of the Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
At doctors’ discretion, people severely immunocompromised might be eligible for a third Moderna shot.