Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) announced today that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available and recommended as follows:
- People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings (regardless of age) should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
- People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
- People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks,
- People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.
“Rhode Island was well prepared for COVID-19 booster shot administration. I am pleased to see that eligible Rhode Islanders are already stepping up to get their booster shots,” said Governor Dan McKee in a statement. “We had the infrastructure and strategy in place to respond swiftly to the approval from CDC, FDA, and ACIP and ensured boosters could be administered as soon as possible. Rhode Island continues to lead the nation in vaccinations and testing and we will continue to lead as we begin administering booster shots.”
This announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an additional emergency use authorization for the administration of booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for specific populations on September 23, 2021, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided final guidance today after the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met yesterday to vote on guidance and clinical recommendations. Rhode Island’s practice is to wait for both of these decisions prior to opening availability to those eligible.
Booster doses are available to eligible Rhode Islanders as of Friday, September 24. Eligible Rhode Islanders can now make appointments for booster doses. We expect small changes in online systems for registration over the coming days to reflect new eligibility and thank Rhode Islanders in advance for their patience.
Demand is expected to be higher for the next six weeks than it has been for the past several months, given the state’s very high vaccination rates. For all Rhode Islanders, 74.8% have received at least one dose and 67.4% are fully vaccinated. For those 12 or older, 85.2% have received one dose, while 76.6% are fully vaccinated. People are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to get vaccinated, when possible, to ensure that enough vaccine is available at the site and to reduce wait times. You can make an appointment at C19vaccineRI.org. If you need assistance making an appointment, please call 844-930-1779, 401-222-8022, or 211.
At this time only the Pfizer booster has received FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster dose is the same dose given for first and second shots of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA is expected to review Moderna’s data on COVID-19 booster doses in the coming weeks. Data are still being collected on the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine before they can be presented to the FDA for possible booster consideration.
Individuals are asked to review this new guidance and self-attest that they are eligible to receive booster doses. Approximately 130,000 may be eligible under the approved guidelines.
RIDOH is also working directly with nursing homes, assisted living communities, and other congregate care settings to ensure access to the Pfizer booster. Specific to the homebound population, additional information is available at https://covid.ri.gov/vaccination.