The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Sept. 22, 2021, to allow for use of a single booster dose in certain populations. On Sept. 23, 2021, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and voted on their recommendations. On Sept. 24, 2021, the CDC director endorsed the ACIP’s recommendations and made an additional recommendation for those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings.
The following groups should get a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after the second dose:
- People 65 years and older.
- Residents in long-term care settings.
- People ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions (refer to CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
The following groups may get a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after the second dose, if the personal benefits for them outweigh the personal risks:
- People ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions (refer to CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
- People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of where they live or work.
These recommendations are only for those who received Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as their primary series. No authorizations or recommendations on a booster dose were made for those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine for their primary series at this time. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and Janssen booster shots are expected in the coming weeks. We will provide more information when we have it.
Providers may begin vaccinating
CDC and MDH will continue to update provider guidance as more details become available. At this time, providers may begin administering booster doses to the appropriate populations when they are ready to do so. Continue to prioritize vaccinating those who have not been vaccinated or need their second dose, then populations that should receive a booster, as resources allow at the provider level. Refer to the CDC Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines for ongoing updates.
Definition of fully vaccinated
For public health purposes, people are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completion of their primary vaccine series (i.e., two-dose mRNA vaccine series or a single dose of the Janssen vaccine) This definition applies to all people, including those who are eligible to receive an additional dose as recommended for moderate to severely immunocompromised people, and those who are eligible to receive a booster dose.
It’s important to remember that people who have been fully vaccinated with any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines continue to have good protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the Delta variant.
Verify a person’s eligibility
Vaccinators should check a person’s age eligibility, the correct dose interval (at least 6 months after the second dose), and that they received Pfizer vaccine as their primary series before administering a booster dose. This information can be verified by checking the Minnesota Immunization Information Center (MIIC). After giving a booster dose, make sure to update the patient’s vaccine card if they brought it, or give them a new one reflecting all doses of COVID-19 vaccine they have received.
Continue to vaccinate the unvaccinated
Along with the current recommendations, CDC and ACIP emphasized that the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19 are those who are unvaccinated. The nation’s priority should remain getting everyone fully vaccinated with their primary series.
- The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.
- Nearly all the cases of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 continue to occur among those not yet vaccinated.
- Data presented showed hospitalization rates are 10 to 22 times higher among the unvaccinated compared to vaccinated adults.
Help decrease community spread
Preventive measures for COVID-19 (including vaccination, wearing a mask, and social distancing) continue to be important to decrease community spread and protect those who cannot be vaccinated or who don’t respond to the vaccine. Read more at CDC How to Protect Yourself & Others.