OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is expanding the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for certain individuals following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup.
Last month, health care providers began offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) vaccine to certain individuals. Since then, more than 345,000 additional doses (which is a combination of booster and third doses) have been given out across the state. Now, providers can also offer booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines to those who are eligible.
At least six months after completing the primary Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, the following groups of people are eligible for a booster dose:
Those 65 and older,
Those 18 – 64 who live in long-term care settings,
Those 18 – 64 who have underlying medical conditions or those at increased risk of social inequities, and
Those 18 – 64 who work or live in high-risk settings.
At least two months after receiving the single-dose J&J vaccine, it is recommended that everyone 18 and older receive a booster dose. Pfizer and J&J’s boosters are both full doses, while Moderna’s booster is a half dose.
“Vaccination continues to be the safest and most effective tool we have to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Getting the unvaccinated their first shots remains a priority,” said Secretary of Health Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH. “A booster dose will further protect fully vaccinated individuals by increasing the vaccine’s effectiveness in their bodies, which otherwise may wane over time.”
According to the FDA and CDC, studies found “mixing and matching” boosters is safe and effective. This means your booster shot does not have to be the same COVID-19 vaccine type your primary vaccination was. For example, someone who received the J&J vaccine can receive a booster dose of J&J, Pfizer, or Moderna. Likewise, someone who received two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) can receive a Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J booster.
COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 12 and older. Currently, there is plenty of vaccine available across the state for everyone who needs a dose. To find a vaccine near you, visit Vaccine Locator or call the COVID-19 Information Hotline at 833-VAX-HELP. Language assistance is available.