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FDA, CDC Authorize All-Ages Pfizer, Moderna Boosters, But These States Aren’t Waiting

November 19, 2021

Several states already have bypassed federal regulations and are offering boosters to anyone over 18 years old, even before the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday authorized both COVID-19 boosters from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for all American adults previously vaccinated.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the CDC’s independent panel of vaccine scientists, unanimously endorsed the boosters later in the day. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky then gave the final endorsement.

Gov. Ned Lamont, though not issuing an executive order, earlier in the week urged Connecticut residents over age 18 to get a booster with the expectation that the CDC would quickly approve the boosters following the FDA’s decision.

“The more shots we can get into people,” says Dr. Ulysses Wu, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Infection Disease and Chief Epidemiologist, “hopefully the less transmission it’s going to mean.”

These 10 states are among those that bypassed federal guidelines and offered boosters to adults at least six months after their second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine:

  • Arkansas.
  • California.
  • Colorado.
  • Maine
  • Minnesota.
  • New Jersey.
  • New Mexico.
  • New York.
  • Rhode Island.
  • West Virginia.

New York City is among the local jurisdictions expanding access to boosters.

The FDA and CDC previously recommend boosters for anyone over 65 at least two months after the initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine and at least six months months after the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Anyone at least 18 who lived in a long-term care facility, had existing medical conditions or worked or lived in a high-risk setting was also eligible.

“Over time, the (original vaccine doses) does actually have some decline in the capacity to fight off COVID-19,” says Dr. Ajay Kumar, Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Clinical Officer. “It’s most important to stay alive. “So the boosters are given to offer protection from what is to come.”

Rhode Island officials, who approved boosters for all adults Tuesday, said the holidays and colder weather puts most people at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure as people congregate indoors.