MDHHS urges booster vaccines

Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive, MDHHS

LANSING — Following FDA approval, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the endorsement of the CDC director, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging certain Michiganders to get a booster vaccine if they received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson primary COVID-19 vaccines.

This includes people ages 65 and older, individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions and those at high risk of COVID-19 due to occupational or institutional exposure.

“We must take every measure we can to protect Michiganders, and that now includes booster doses for the various groups who are now eligible to receive them,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive, in a statement. “We know vaccines work and are the way out of the pandemic. The FDA has authorized a booster dose for some individuals to maintain and increase that level of protection. There is an ample supply of vaccines available, and we urge all eligible Michiganders to get their booster dose as soon as possible.”

There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

For individuals who received an mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) COVID-19 primary vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series:

≤ 65 years and older.

≤ Ages 18 and older who live in long-term care settings.

≤ Ages 18 and older who have underlying medical conditions.

≤ Ages 18 and older who work or live in high-risk settings.

People over age 18 who received a single dose of the J&J (Janssen) vaccine should receive a single J&J COVID-19 booster dose at least two months after completing their primary series, MDHHS said.

The use of a single booster dose of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least two months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.

Per CDC, occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include frontline essential workers and health care workers including:

≤ First responders (EMS, health care workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff).

≤ Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers).

≤ Food and agriculture workers.

≤ Manufacturing workers.

≤ Corrections workers.

≤ U.S. Postal Service workers

≤ Public transit workers.

≤ Grocery store workers.

MDHHS indicated that this list could be updated in the future.

After a careful examination of the latest data, and deliberative discussion around booster shots, the updated guidance from CDC follows the FDA’s Oct. 20 amendment of the emergency-use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of a single booster dose, MDHHS said. Those who receive a Moderna booster will get a dose half the amount received during the primary series.

Michiganders should bring their COVID-19 vaccine card or immunization record with them when getting their booster dose, which are available at any vaccine provider that have Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines. Immunization records are available online at the Michigan Immunization Portal for many residents and can be downloaded and printed.

To obtain their record, Michiganders must create a MILogin account at Michigan.gov/MiImmsportal and upload a valid government issued photo ID such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport. There is no cost to access the portal.

To date, nearly 69%, or two in three Michiganders, have gotten at least their first dose of one of the three vaccines, MDHHS said. From January to Oct. 12, unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 93.1% of COVID cases, 90.7% of hospitalizations and 90.5% of deaths.


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