Vermont moves to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all adults

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State officials are encouraging Vermonters over the age of 18 to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster ahead of expected approval by federal health officials later this week.

Governor Phil Scott has ordered the Agency of Human Services to launch a “universal booster program” for anyone who has received the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. People who received the J&J version are eligible two months after their first dose; those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are eligible six months after the first dose.

Scott said new cases in those 65 and older have declined by about 2.5% over the last 30 days, as cases have risen in lower-risk age groups. He said that’s evidence that boosters are keeping cases lower at-risk age and reducing hospitalizations.”

“At this point, we need to shift to getting everyone boosted to help reduce the disruption of higher cases and minimize transmission to at-risk Vermonters, particularly through the winter months,” Scott said.

While some states, including New York, have already expanded the shots to all adults, it is not yet official U.S. policy. That could change as soon as this week: The Food and Drug Administration is expected to sign off on Pfizer’s application for universal boosters before a government advisory panel meets Friday. The final step — a recommendation by the Centers for disease Control — could come soon after the meeting.

Pfizer and Moderna boosters are currently now recommended for people 65 or older or are at high risk of COVID-19 because of health problems, if they received their second shots at least six months ago. Boosters are also recommended for people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

Vermonters can register for booster at the health department website or by calling 855-722-7878.

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