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Health departments preparing to distribute COVID-19 booster shots this fall

Next week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting to craft a plan for additional booster doses that must be distributed.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — As of Friday, 41% of Ohio is fully vaccinated, bringing the total to just under five million people. And by the end of this year, a decent chunk of those individuals will need a second booster shot.

Next week the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting to craft a plan for what to do as far as additional booster doses that must be distributed.

"We think that's going to begin this conversation, and we're going to be watching closely to see what they might recommend in the future," said Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Robison.

RELATED: AP source: J&J doses to be released, but many will be tossed

While no exact dates have been nailed down at this point, health department officials are preparing to start administering booster shots in October, depending on which shot you received. 

Should booster shots start happening this fall, there's a good chance health officials will be administering initial doses of the vaccine and booster shots at the same time.

"Whether we're doing boosters simultaneously with first and second doses we're going to be ready for that," Robison said. "We're hoping to understand what that means for us as more data becomes available." 

RELATED: 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses in Ohio set to expire in 2 weeks

If you are vaccinated, you should know the expiration date listed on your vaccine card is not the date you need a booster shot. Rather, it's the date the vaccine must be distributed by.

"That expiration date is when that vaccine has to be administered into your arm," Robison said. "Think of it like an expiration date on a gallon of milk. It's the day you have to drink it for it to be still good." 

Additionally, Ohio health departments are getting a little more time to distribute Johnson and Johnson shots, which were originally set to expire on June 23, following new FDA guidance. 

Vaccinated individuals should expect to hear more specific information in the coming weeks regarding when they will need another dose.

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