Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series for certain individuals.
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finalized COVID-19 booster dose recommendations for people who previously received Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The following individuals are recommended to receive a booster dose:
- people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series,
- people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series,
- people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
- people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
These recommendations are ONLY for those who originally received the two-dose series of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine. Booster doses might be recommended in the future for those who received COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). There is not yet data available to recommend mixing vaccine brands or to recommend additional doses of Moderna or Janssen vaccine.
This recommendation does not mean that COVID-19 vaccines are not working. Hospitalization rates are ~10-22 times higher in unvaccinated adults compared to vaccinated adults. Vaccinated people are five times less likely to get sick from COVID-19, compared to those who are unvaccinated. Vaccine effectiveness has declined against infection (having COVID-19 symptoms) but is still highly protective against hospitalization and death. Effectiveness against hospitalization has declined for those 65 and older.
Booster doses may not be available until later next week. Healthcare providers will need to educate staff and update protocols based on this new recommendation. The NDDoH has planned with long-term care facilities to ensure they have access to booster doses in the coming weeks. Please. stay tuned for more information. As a reminder, people may be vaccinated against influenza at the same time as receiving a COVID-19 booster.
Information on COVID-19 vaccine providers and clinics near you can be found on the NDDoH COVID Vaccine Locator page. Individuals can also contact the NDDoH public health hotline at 1-866-207-2880 for questions related to COVID-19 and for assistance in scheduling a vaccine appointment.