WDH: Boosters approved for Moderna, Janssen COVID-19 vaccines

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File photo (Art Writ/FlickrCC).

Recommendations for who should receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots has been expanded to include more Wyoming residents, the Wyoming Department of Health stated Friday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added booster dose recommendations, authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for COVID-19 vaccines manufactures by Moderna and by Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) for certain groups of people, according to Dr. Alexia Harris, state health officer and epidemiologist with WDH.

The announcement means that booster shots are recommended for every COVID-19 vaccine currently being distributed in Wyoming are authorized, per WDH, including the Pfizer and BioNtech vaccine.

“Booster doses do just what the name implies: they ‘boost’ the strong protection the vaccines already offer,” Harrist said in a statement. “This ‘boost’ is especially important for those who are most likely to experience severe illness or exposure to the virus.”

Booster shots are authorized for Wyoming residents who are 65 or older and received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose six or more months ago, per WDH.

Residents 18 and older are also eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster if they reside in long-term care facilities, have certain medical conditions that make severe disease more likely, or have an increased risk of COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to their jobs such as healthcare workers or correctional officers.

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Booster doses for the Johnson and Johnson, or Janssen, vaccine is recommended for all Wyoming residents who are 18 and older and were vaccinated two or more months ago, according to WDH.

A “mix and match” approach for booster doses has been approved by the CDC, which means residents may choose to receive a COVID-19 booster from a different company than the one they were previously vaccinated through, per WDH.

Essentially, the mix and match approach would authorize a resident who received the one-dose Janssen vaccine previously can now choose to receive a booster of either a Moderna or a Pfizer- BioNtech vaccine, WDH says.

“We continue to see high numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in Wyoming and the state’s low vaccination rates contribute to our vulnerability to the aggressive Delta variant,” Harrist said in a statement. “For those people who are not yet vaccinated, getting started with COVID-19 vaccines remains a key priority and the most important step available to help prevent COVID-19 illness.”

COVID-19 vaccines are free and, Harrist noted, it is considered safe to receive both a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.