The Minnesota Department of Health issued this statement following today’s announcement by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about its plan to offer third doses of COVID-19 vaccines as boosters starting the week of September 20.
Vaccination is the key to ending this pandemic, and today’s announcement underscores the importance of the protection these vaccines offer. It also underscores the importance of continuing to follow the science as we learn more about the disease and the tools available to protect us against it.
What Minnesotans need to know right now is that the vaccines provide strong protection against COVID-19, especially against severe illness and death. Booster doses likely will be needed in the near future to continue that protection, but people need to wait until the prescribed time to get that booster. Based on information from CDC today, boosters should become available starting the week of September 20. Booster timing is expected to be eight months after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. For example, this would mean that a person who got their second dose on February 1 should get their booster dose on or around October 1.
Many vaccines require boosters to maintain protection. While the COVID-19 vaccines continue to be very effective in reducing risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death, the data shared by CDC indicate that protection against COVID-19 infection decreases over time. A booster dose eight months after a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can extend that protection. In the days and weeks ahead, we expect the Food and Drug Administration and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will provide more information on booster doses as well as recommendations specific to the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine.
There is plenty of vaccine available. We stand ready to work with the federal government and our partners across the state to ensure that Minnesotans have equitable access to booster doses to provide the best protection against COVID-19. We encourage all eligible Minnesotans who are not yet vaccinated to get it done as soon as they can. The more people who are vaccinated, the more protection we have in our communities.