MONTPELIER, Vt. (WFFF) — 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.
Gov. 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,” he 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 FDA is expected to sign off on Pfizer’s application for universal boosters before a government advisory panel meets Friday. The final step—a recommendation from the CDC—could come soon after the meeting.
Pfizer and Moderna boosters are currently now recommended for people 65 or older or who are at high risk of COVID because of health problems. Vermonters can register for boosters at the health department website or by calling (855) 722-7878.