Virus Outbreak Boosters Explainer

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 file photo, a nurse loads a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Jackson, Miss. Millions of Americans are now eligible to receive a Pfizer booster shot to help increase their protection against the worst effects of the coronavirus.

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MONTPELIER — Vermont is expanding its Pfizer vaccination booster eligibility to include people who are immunocompromised or have underlying medical conditions, Gov. Phil Scott, the Agency of Human Services and the Department of Health announced Friday.

After an announcement from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle P. Walensky, the state decided to expand eligibility for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to people aged 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions on Oct. 1. These conditions will be more specifically defined by the CDC soon.

Vermonters 80 years of age and older became eligible to schedule and receive Pfizer boosters Friday. The next age groups become eligible: 75 years of age and older, today; 70 years of age and older, Wednesday; 65 years of age and older, Oct. 1.

Any eligible Vermonter can also check with their doctor or local pharmacy to receive a booster shot. The schedule outlined is intended only for statewide clinics, accounting for anticipated demand and supply.

The state is awaiting guidance from the CDC on what kinds of workers at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure will be eligible for booster shots, and will provide more information early next week.

Unlike Vermont, many states are not returning to large, statewide clinics, and instead are relying primarily on pharmacies and medical offices for booster vaccinations. Scott and Vermont’s COVID-19 Response Leadership Team believe a return to these statewide clinics will enable us to get more shots in arms faster.