(Salt Lake City, UT) – This morning, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended the use of Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) booster doses for the following individuals:
- people who are 65 or older, and
- people who live in a long-term care facility, and
- people 18 and older with underlying medical conditions that put them at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and
- people who live or work in a setting that puts them at a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as healthcare workers and teachers.
“Data reviewed by the FDA and ACIP showed booster doses can prevent further hospitalizations and death for those individuals who are at highest risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Data shows that the vaccines continue to provide very good protection against severe COVID-19 illness in the general population. Most Utahns do not need a booster at this time, but a booster can help add another layer of protection to those people at the highest risk of severe COVID-19,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, UDOH state epidemiologist.
The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recommends vaccine providers throughout the state become familiar with the CDC’s recommendations and begin offering booster doses as soon as they are able.
Booster doses should be administered at least six months after a person receives their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine. Due to a lack of available data at this time, the FDA, CDC, and ACIP have not authorized or approved booster doses for people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Providers in the state report that they have more than 200,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and vaccine providers can order more doses as needed. For more information on how to find a COVID-19 vaccine in Utah, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov. Vaccines are available at provider offices, pharmacies, local health departments, and other one-time community locations and events. Designated partners will provide booster doses for residents of long-term care facilities and have begun scheduling those doses.
“We are excited that the FDA and ACIP are making booster doses available for people who are at highest risk for severe illness,” said Nolen. “We must all continue to work together to decrease the spread of this virus in our state. Our hospitals are currently at full capacity and are having a hard time providing medical care to all the people who need it. We must take any steps we can to help lessen the enormous strain on our hospitals and healthcare providers.”
The FDA has updated their fact sheets for healthcare providers and patients with information to reflect the authorization of Pfizer BioNTech (Comirnaty) booster doses.
The CDC has updated information on this recommendation at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html.