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COVID-19 Booster Dose Eligibility Expanded in Rhode Island

Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are now encouraging 16- and 17-year-olds who have completed the primary COVID-19 vaccine series to get booster doses in Rhode Island. This announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday their updated recommendation for booster doses for everyone 16 and older.

"I'm proud that Rhode Island led the nation in getting our population vaccinated as of today, over 96% of adults have at least one shot. To fully protects ourselves and our loved ones against Delta, Omicron and other variants, it's time to double down and get a boost," Governor McKee said. "As eligibility continues to expand, we're making accessibility a priority for Rhode Island's booster campaign. If you are eligible, get that booster and encourage friends and family to sign up today."

"We are seeing very high levels of COVID-19 transmission right now in Rhode Island. Booster doses for everyone who is eligible is critical to strengthen protection against Omicron and other variants, and to keeping individuals and communities as safe as possible," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and accessible all throughout Rhode Island. I'm urging parents and families to get their 16- and 17-year-olds boosted as soon as possible."

Prior to this announcement booster doses were only available for people 18 and older. A 16- or 17-year-old who received a Pfizer or Moderna primary series can now get a Pfizer booster six months later. A 16- or 17-year-old who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccination can now get a Pfizer booster dose two months later. (Only Pfizer booster doses are being administered to 16- and 17-year-olds. However, a 16- or 17-year-old can receive a Pfizer booster regardless of the vaccine type they received for their primary series.)

Rhode Island has been experiencing high levels of COVID-19 community transmission since August 2021 and we have seen the transmission rate increase significantly during the last several weeks. With expected new variants, people spending more time indoors, and the high rate of community transmission, hospitalizations in Rhode Island are predicted to increase over the coming weeks and into early 2022. Although the dominant strain of COVID-19 is the Delta variant, the Omicron variant has been identified in neighboring states and is expected to cause a significant number of COVID-19 infections in Rhode Island within the coming weeks and months. Booster doses are a critical tool to help limit spread and prevent serious illness.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccine, including information on where to get vaccinated, see: C19vaccineRI.org.

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