COVID boosters could be available starting today: What you need to know

 Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination at a vaccination booster shot clinic on October 01, 2021 in San Rafael, California. Marin County opened its first COVID-19 booster shot clinic inside a former Victoria's Secret store at Northgate Mall. The clinic is giving priority to residents over 75 years old but is open to all ages that are eligible to receive the Pfizer booster. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination at a vaccination booster shot clinic on October 01, 2021 in San Rafael, California. Marin County opened its first COVID-19 booster shot clinic inside a former Victoria's Secret store at Northgate Mall. The clinic is giving priority to residents over 75 years old but is open to all ages that are eligible to receive the Pfizer booster. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Photo credit Getty Images

With new guidance released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of Americans are now eligible to receive COVID-19 booster shots.

According to the CDC, Director Rochelle P. Walensky endorsed an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ for the booster shot in certain populations. Previously, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots.

Boosters of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine have the widest eligibility. For the 15 million people who received this shot, boosters are recommended for people are 18 years old or older who received their shot more than two months ago.

Eligibility is more limited for two-shot Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Individuals can receive boosters if they received their doses at least six months and meet one of the following criteria: they are 65 years or older, they are 18 years old or older and live in a long-term care setting, they are 18 years old or older with underlying medical conditions, or they are someone 18 years old or older who works or lives in a high-risk setting.

However, the CDC also said that people can choose whichever vaccine they want as a booster dose.

“Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others, may prefer to get a different booster,” said the centers Thursday. “CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.”

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said more than 70 million Americans are now eligible to receive these booster shots, according to The Washington Post. In the coming months, that figure will rise to 120 million, according to Zients.

He said that there is ample supply of all three vaccines, that shots will be free with no ID or insurance requirement and that 90 percent of the country lives within five miles of a vaccination site.

In addition to encouraging booster shots, the CDC also stressed that the 65 million Americans who remain unvaccinated should get their initial doses.

“Available data right now show that all three of the COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant,” said the CDC. “Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.”

So far, over 400 million overall vaccine doses have already been given, said Walensky. According to USA Today, 57 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 6 percent has already received a booster shot.