A new CDC guidance and concerns over a new COVID-19 variant are leading more people to get a booster vaccine.
On Monday, the CDC strengthened its guidance for the booster, now recommending that everyone over the age of 18 get the extra shot. This comes as the omicron variant continues to spread around the world.
Baylor Scott and White in Temple and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said they have recently seen increases in the number of people requesting booster shots.
Many pharmacies in the area do not have booster shot appointment openings until next week.
"We've had a large turnout since the boosters were first made available," said Kelly Craine, the public information officer for the health district. Craine said while turnout is high, the district is not worried about running out of its supply of the vaccine.
All adults are eligible for the booster as long as it has been at least six months since they received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months since they received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Dr. Tresa McNeal, a hospitalist physician with Baylor Scott & White in Temple, said getting vaccinated and following CDC recommendations is a key to preventing community spread. She also said it may be too early to be very worried about the omicron variant.
"We're still learning about that. It's no cause for panic or alarm," McNeal said.
Instead, she recommends people continue to be cautious and continue to take precautions like masking in crowds and washing their hands often.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Service data, about 45,000 people have received an extra dose of the vaccine in Bell and McLennan counties so far.