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Wyoming State Health issues simplified booster recommendations for vaccinated adults

Dr Alexia Harrist speaks during a COVID-19 briefing on Sept. 9, 2020 (courtesy of Wyoming Public Broadcasting YouTube)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is recommending single booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine for eligible, fully vaccinated adults, according to a release Friday.

“National experts have updated their booster recommendations to include anyone 18 and over who received their second Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dose at least six months ago and anyone 18 and over who received a Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago,” the release said.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised the booster recommendations following authorization by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

“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. “We’re learning that a single booster dose for fully vaccinated adults can enhance and extend the strong protection these vaccines provide.”

“Enhanced protection offered by booster doses is especially important for those most likely to experience severe illness or exposure to the virus,” Harrist said. “The risk for serious COVID-19 illness increases with age and is affected by certain medical conditions or pregnancy.”

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) encourages eligible fully vaccinated Wyoming adults to enhance and extend their protection against COVID-19 by getting a single booster dose of one of the available free, safe and effective vaccines.

Booster doses can be from a different brand than used for initial vaccination; a “mix and match” approach is fine, the WDH said.

For example, those who previously received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine may choose a booster dose of either a Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

It is also considered safe to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine dose at the same time, the WDH said.

A person is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after one dose of the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.

More than 55,000 Wyoming adults have already received a third dose of either a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“Wyoming’s low vaccination rates continue to make too many of our residents vulnerable to the aggressive Delta variant. We continue to see more case counts, hospitalizations and deaths in than we should,” Harrist said.

“We encourage anyone who has not yet made the choice to get a COVID-19 vaccine to reconsider and say yes to this important protection,” Harrist said. “At the same time, we want people who have been fully vaccinated to take this step to help themselves with a single booster dose.”

Harrist reminded parents that youth ages 12 and older are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine and children ages 5-11 are eligible for a dose of the Pfizer vaccine meant for that age group.

All COVID-19 vaccine doses continue to be offered at no cost to those who receive them and vaccine supplies are plentiful across the state.

Convenient ways to find where to get COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • Visit Vaccines.gov or vacunas.gov online to search and find vaccine sites.
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829 (GETVAX) or 822862 (VACUNA) to find up to three nearby locations that have vaccines available.
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 for phone-based help.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.