Federal and state officials announced that Covid-19 Pfizer and Moderna booster shots are approved for all adults who are at least 18 years old in the United States.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a press release Friday that it has amended its emergency use authorizations for Pfizer and Moderna to authorize a single booster dose for adults.

A few hours later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky supported an advisory committee recommendation that adults who were vaccinated by Pfizer and Moderna should be eligible for booster shots six months later.

The decision clears the way for anybody 18 and up who wishes to get a booster shot. The CDC also recommended a third shot for everybody who’s at least 50 years old and got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Hawaii Pacific Health Vaccine bus COVID-19 vaccination card.
All Hawaii adults age 50 and up should get boosters, the CDC said Friday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Adults aged 18 and older living in a long-term care facility should also get a booster shot, the CDC said.

“Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays,” Walensky said.

Hawaii reported 206 new Covid cases on Friday along with six new deaths. Some cities are experiencing Covid case jumps and officials fear a winter surge as people gather for the holidays.

Booster shots were already approved for recipients of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine two months after receiving their initial shots.

“We’ve been getting booster shots for measles, mumps, chickenpox, tetanus, whooping cough and other diseases for years. Now the research shows boosters will help protect us from Covid-19,” Hawaii Health Department director Elizabeth Char said.

Hawaii hadn’t officially allowed all adults to get booster shots prior to Friday’s announcement, but officials had said that patients who felt like they needed booster shots should get them.

More than 72% of Hawaii’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid. State data indicates 100% of adults age 50 and up in Hawaii are vaccinated.

Just 12% of children aged 5-11 are vaccinated in Hawaii. Booster shots are not yet approved for anyone younger than age 17.

Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a press release that the change “will also help to eliminate confusion about who may receive a booster dose and ensure booster doses are available to all who may need one.”

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