Sept. 29, 2021 — On Sept. 24, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup completed its review of the federal process and has recommended a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months after their primary vaccination series for people older than 65 and people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
"COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and vaccination continues to be our path out of this pandemic,” stated Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. “Seniors who have received the Pfizer vaccine, as well as Oregonians who have underlying health conditions, live in long-term care facilities, or who are at higher risk due to occupational or institutional setting will now be able to receive the additional layer of protection provided by a booster shot. Everyone eligible who wants a booster will get one, and I'm committed to ensuring our most vulnerable Oregonians are protected from COVID-19, including those who are at higher risk due to systemic health and social inequities. I’d like to thank Oregonians for their patience as boosters become available while our hospitals and health care workers continue to respond to the ongoing Delta surge."
The Workgroup recommended the following groups of people who received the Pfizer vaccine should receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine after six months:
In addition, the Workgroup recommended that the following groups of people ages 18-64 who received the Pfizer vaccine may also receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine after six months:
The Workgroup strongly endorsed the CDC’s recognition that long-standing health and social inequities have increased the risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and recommended that social determinants of vulnerability be included in the assessment of medical conditions that qualify individuals for booster doses.
Because unvaccinated individuals remain at much higher risk of COVID-19 than vaccinated individuals, the Workgroup also reiterated that its members strongly support vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone 12 years of age and older.
On Sept. 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 65 and older and those that are at higher risk for COVID-19, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices affirmed that decision on Sept. 23.
The CDC also recommended people at higher risk due to occupational or institutional setting also be eligible for Pfizer booster doses.
Recognizing that only Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have been authorized for booster doses, the Workgroup implored the FDA and CDC to quickly find solutions to sustain the protection of the most vulnerable individuals who have received a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. The Workgroup also applauded the donation of COVID-19 vaccines to nations in need and called for an expansion of those efforts to protect the global community, save lives, and prevent the emergence of new COVID-19 variants.
Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October. The Workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.