Illinois Department of Public Health adopting CDC recommendation for shorter interval for Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose

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FILE – A medical staff member prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Tudor Ranch in Mecca, Calif. on Jan. 21, 2021. In the early days of 2021, television screens were filled with images of people across the country getting shots of the new COVID-19 vaccine. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The Illinois Department of Public Health is adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to shorten the interval from 6 months to 5 months for when people who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can get a booster dose. 

Currently, only people who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can receive an mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) booster dose 5 months after the second shot. The booster interval remains the same for those who received the Moderna vaccine (6 months) or the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine for their primary series. 

The CDC recommended that moderately or severely immunocompromised children 5-11 years old receive a third dose of vaccine 28 days after their second dose.  Only Pfizer-BioNTech is authorized for children as of now.  Parents are encouraged talk with their child’s health care provider about a potential third dose.

“Early evidence suggests that people who have received COVID -19 booster doses are better protected against severe illness from the new Omicron variant,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “Shortening the time interval between the initial Pfizer series and boosters, as well as recommending a third dose for immunocompromised children will afford better protection to more people.”

The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses for those aged 12-15 years, and the CDC will discuss potential changes later in the week. The Illinois Department of Public Health is working to update guidance based on the CDC’s recommendations.

To find vaccination locations near you, click here or call 1-800-232-0233.

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