COVID-19 vaccines: FDA approval, boosters and third dose for immunocompromised

Jan. 5, 2022 update: The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to expand eligibility for booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents, 12 to15 years of age. The CDC also now recommends that adolescents 12 to 17 years old should receive booster shots 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.  

Jan. 31, 2022, update: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full approval to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine. The approval means that the Moderna vaccine meets the FDA's rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness. According to the CDC, Moderna' vaccine is recommended for people age 18 and older and should include a booster shot five months after the initial series.

March 29, 2022, update: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended the Emergency Use Authorizations for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to include a second booster dose for people 50 years of age or older and certain immunocompromised individuals. For immunocompromised individuals, Moderna is available for those 18 years of age and older, Pfizer is available for those 12 years and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would update its vaccine guidance to reflect the FDA’s decision.

May 23, 2022, update: Following the May 19, 2022 meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expanding eligibility of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to everyone 5 years of age and older. The CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 years should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.

June 21, 2022, update: On June 18, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unanimously recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years, as well as the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years. The approval followed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s amendment of both vaccine makers emergency use authorizations to include the youngest age group. On June 19, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup announced completion of its review and unanimously concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are safe for children as young as 6 months old. 

As COVID-19 continues to spread, we want to help you stay informed about the best ways to protect you and your loved ones.  

As you may have heard, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has fully approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 16 and older. This is great news because it confirms that the vaccine is safe and effective for reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.  

Third dose for immunocompromised patients 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the FDA now recommend a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for ongoing protection against the virus for certain high-risk individuals or those with weakened immune systems. The additional dose has been authorized for Pfizer and Moderna.  

Booster shots for fully vaccinated people 

Pending authorization from the FDA and the CDC, booster shots for people who have already been fully vaccinated will be available to the broader public beginning the week of Sept. 20. Booster shots are recommended starting eight months after your second dose of the two-dose vaccines. Eligibility will be phased, with many health care providers, nursing home and long-term care residents, and other seniors among those who will likely be eligible first.

Learn more and get vaccinated 

We encourage you to learn more about the recent FDA approval and booster shots. We also invite you to talk with your physician if you have questions or think you’re eligible for a third dose of the vaccine or a booster shot.  

If you are eligible and able to get the vaccine, we encourage you to do so. Please call the Washington State Department of Health at 800-525-0127 or find a vaccination site near you.

Additional resources 


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