Booster doses of COVID vaccines available in Washington for eligible individuals
Booster doses of three COVID vaccine types are now available for certain individuals in Washington.
Following recommendations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, the state is expanding the use of booster doses for some people.
In September, health care providers began offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to certain individuals. Now, providers can offer booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to those who are eligible.
At least six months after completing the primary Pfizer or Moderna series, the following people are now eligible for a booster dose:
- Those 65 and older
- Those 18-64 who live in long-term care settings
- Those 18-64 who have underlying medical conditions or those at increased risk of social inequities
- Those 18-64 who work or live in high-risk settings
As for those who received the single-dose J&J vaccine, it’s recommended that everyone over 18 receive a booster dose at least two months after receiving their first.
According to the FDA and CDC, studies have also found that “mixing and matching” boosters is safe and effective. This means your booster shot does not have to be the same type as your primary vaccination. For example, someone who received the J&J vaccine can now receive a booster dose of J&J, Pfizer, or Moderna. Someone who got two doses of Pfizer or Moderna can get Moderna, Pfizer, or J&J as a booster.
One such study was done by UW Medicine, which is one of 10 sites performing the study.
“The data that we have today shows that it is safe, and also effective at creating a strong immune response,” said Dr. Christine Johnston, an associate professor of medicine at the UW. “We’re still studying this, but at this point, we’re seeing that this is a safe option.”
There were approximately 450 study participants in the UW Medicine study who received a booster vaccine at least 29 days ago, while some received it as far out as six months ago. Each initial vaccine series has been combined with an alternative booster and monitored. A release from UW Medicine says no adverse effects have been observed, beyond occasional soreness or fatigue.
There are differences between the three types of vaccines available in the United States that are now authorized for boosters, UW Medicine notes. Pfizer and J&J boosters are full doses equal to their original series, while the CDC found that Moderna’s booster shot provided “ample protection” as a half-dose compared to its initial series.
Find a vaccine near you with the state’s Vaccine Locator tool, or call 833-VAX-HELP.