SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced a recommended guideline for who should receive a COVID-19 booster dose.

The CDC strongly recommends the following people receive vaccine boosters:

  • Those aged 65 or older
  • Those who live in a long-term care facility
  • Anyone over 18 with underlying conditions
  • Those who live or work in a setting that puts them at a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, such as healthcare workers and teachers

The booster shot only applies to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at this time. Officials say booster shots can prevent further hospitalization and death for those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

“Data shows that the vaccines continue to provide very good protection against severe COVID-19 illness in the general population,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, UDOH state epidemiologist. “Most Utahns do not need a booster at this time, but a booster can help add another layer of protection to those people at the highest risk of severe COVID-19.”

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recommends vaccine providers begin offering vaccine boosters as soon as possible. Officials say boosters should be taken at least six months after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Booster shots have not been approved for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines at this time.

“We are excited that the FDA and ACIP are making booster doses available for people who are at highest risk for severe illness,” said Nolen. “We must all continue to work together to decrease the spread of this virus in our state. Our hospitals are currently at full capacity and are having a hard time providing medical care to all the people who need it. We must take any steps we can to help lessen the enormous strain on our hospitals and healthcare providers.”

Utah vaccine providers say they have over 200,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine ready, with more doses available when needed. Vaccines are available through your local health provider, pharmacies, local health departments, and other community locations/events.

To learn more about the CDC’s vaccine booster guidelines and who is eligible to receive one, click here.