Maine, Vermont Expand COVID-19 Booster Shots to All Adults

Other states that have expanded booster eligibility to all adults include California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas and West Virginia

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Maine and Vermont are officially expanding COVID-19 booster eligigility to all adults as some other states have done.

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said the change is effective immediately in Maine and will apply regardless of underlying medical conditions or other factors. She said one of the motivating factors for the change was that health care systems in the state are overburdened by a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from about 467 new cases per day on Nov. 1 to about 564 new cases per day on Monday.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that all Maine residents live or work in high-risk settings, and that justifies the expansion of booster eligibility, Mills said.

“With Maine and other New England states confronting a sustained surge, and with cold weather sending people indoors, we want to simplify the federal government’s complicated eligibility guidelines and make getting a booster shot as straightforward and easy as possible,” Mills said in a statement.

Millions more Americans will have access to booster shots for COVID-19 vaccines after the FDA and the CDC approved new measures.

Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, said Vermont will remove the longer list of criteria for boosters on its registration website, simplify the registration process and take walk-ins at state-run vaccination clinics as part the universal booster program.

Over the last 30 days, while COVID-19 cases have increased in low-risk age groups, cases have dropped by about 2.5% in Vermonters ages 65 and older, he said.

“This is evidence that boosters are working to both keep cases lower in the at-risk age groups and, by further protecting the most at risk, they reduce hospitalizations,” Scott said in a written statement. “At this point, we need to shift to getting everyone boosted to help reduce the disruption of higher cases and minimize transmission to at-risk Vermonters, particularly through the winter months.”

Other states that have expanded booster eligibility to all adults include California, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas and West Virginia.

People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible two months after their first dose, and those who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are eligible six months after their second dose.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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