WDH recommends COVID-19 vaccine boosters for some residents

Jessica Schurtz, RN at Campbell County Public Health, draws up the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be given to one of the senior citizens in Campbell County. (Photo: County 17 / Brooke Byelich)
Jessica Schurtz, RN at Campbell County Public Health, draws up the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be given to one of the senior citizens in Campbell County.

Booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are now recommended for both older residents and other adults at high risk of severe disease or exposure to the virus, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) announced Friday.

The Sept. 24 announcement falls in line with a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that certain adults over the age of 65, adults over 50 with certain medical conditions such as cancer or chronic kidney disease, and adults who are residents of long-term care facilities seek a booster dose of the vaccine, according to State Health Officer Dr. Alexia Harrist.

“While we continue to emphasize the importance of COVID-19 vaccines for those people who are not yet vaccinated, these booster doses are intended to help provide continued strong protection for those who are most likely to experience severe illness or exposure to the virus,” Harrist said in a statement.

Additionally, other residents over the age of 18 with medical conditions that make the risk of severe disease more likely are urged to consider a booster shot, WDH says, adding that healthcare workers or other residents that work in fields with an elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission may consider an additional dose as well.

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Booster shots are recommended and authorized for the Pfizer vaccine only, according to WDH, which said that doses are to be given at least six months after someone received their second shot.

Residents that have received either the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines should not receive a Pfizer booster, WDH recommends.

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safe and effective against COVID-19, including the variants, and are especially good at protecting against severe illness,” Harrist said. “This Pfizer booster recommendation for more vulnerable people was not unexpected and it will not be surprising to see similar future recommendations for the vaccines produced by other companies.”

For residents who want their flu shots, WDH advises that it is currently considered safe to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the same time.