CDC reduces recommended wait time for getting Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot

Federal health experts have shortened the government's recommended wait period for receiving a booster shot following the completion of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people only need to wait five months after receiving their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, instead of six months.

The booster interval recommendation for Johnson & Johnson and Moderna has not changed.

"As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will continue to update our recommendations to ensure the best possible protection for the American people," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. "Following the FDA’s authorizations, today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of Omicron and increasing cases across the country, and ensure that the most vulnerable children can get an additional dose to optimize protection against COVID-19."

Recipients of the J&J vaccine should wait two months before getting a booster shot. Those who complete the Moderna series should still wait six months.

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Additionally, the CDC has also recommended kids age 5-11 years old who are severely immunocompromised should get an additional primary dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after their second shot. 

The Pfizer vaccine is the only series approved for children of that age range.

"If you or your children are eligible for a third dose or a booster, please go out and get one as soon as you can. Additionally, FDA took action this week to authorize boosters for 12-15 year olds – and I look forward to ACIP meeting on Wednesday to discuss this issue," said Walensky.

Booster shots have been in the media spotlight recently as the best solution for avoiding an infection from omicron, which has shown to be more infectious than other variants and can pass between people who have already been vaccinated.

The CDC's recommendations have followed the surge of COVID-19 omicron cases. In Michigan, the state reported more than 60,000 cases since last Wednesday - a daily average of more than 12,000.

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Experts' understanding of the coronavirus has continued to evolve in recent months, reflecting the changing recommendations that have followed.

In late December, the CDC reduced the quarantine isolation period for asymptomatic patients from 10 to five days, before recommending consistent masking. The Michigan health department soon followed in matching the federal government's guidance.