Expanding eligibility for COVID-19 boosters to include ages 12 and up is welcome news as the Omicron variant fuels a surge in cases around the country.
Following approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its booster recommendation to include ages 12 to 15. The CDC previously expanded eligibility to ages 16 and 17 and is now recommending boosters for this group.
At this time, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in those under age 18. A booster dose is recommended for anyone 12 and older who is at least five months past their primary series of the Pfizer vaccine. Meanwhile, boosters are recommended for everyone 18 and older who is at least six months past their second Moderna dose or is at least two months beyond receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.
“We’re encouraged that even more Arizonans can update their protection against COVID-19 by getting a safe, free, and highly effective booster dose,” said Don Herrington, interim director of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). “Meanwhile, there is plenty of vaccine for others to get the jab and dramatically reduce their risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.”
In addition, the CDC has recommended that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5- to 11-year-olds should receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second shot.
COVID-19 cases are surging in Arizona and around the country amid the Omicron variant’s rapid spread. Vaccination, boosters, and mitigation measures such as masking, maintaining physical distance, and staying home when you are feeling sick are essential to reducing the spread.
As of November, Arizonans who were fully vaccinated were 31.1 times less likely to die from COVID-19 and 4.9 times less likely to test positive for the disease, according to an ADHS review of outcomes by vaccination status.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit azhealth.gov/COVID19Vaccines. To find a vaccine provider near you, please visit azhealth.gov/FindVaccines.
If you have questions or need assistance by phone, the bilingual ADHS COVID-19 Hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week at 844.542.8201 (Select Option 8 to speak with a navigator).