DHS: Wisconsin to Offer COVID-19 Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Booster Doses

DHS: Wisconsin to Offer COVID-19 Moderna and Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Booster Doses

DHS supports CDC recommendation to expand eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that certain populations who have increased risk of exposure to or transmission of COVID-19 receive a booster shot of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after having received their second dose of the Moderna vaccine, and that individuals age 18 and older who received the J & J COVID-19 vaccine receive a booster dose at least two months after their primary vaccine dose.

“With three COVID-19 booster dose options now available, our national medical experts have given us additional tools to help stop the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant and slow the spread of COVID-19 in communities throughout Wisconsin,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “We ask that eligible Wisconsinites be patient as it may take time for everyone who needs a booster dose to get one.”

DHS continues to await publication of the CDC clinical guidance for Moderna and J&J booster doses. Once those are published, vaccinators in Wisconsin will be able to begin providing booster doses and ensure they are following the safest protocols.

The CDC also recommended that health care professionals be allowed to provide a different COVID-19 vaccine as a booster than the one initially received, providing flexibility to health care providers and additional options for individuals. This recommendation applies to all three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States.

Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 booster recommendation:

DHS recommends that the following populations receive a booster dose of Moderna or Pfizer at least six months after receiving their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer in order to further strengthen their immunity:

  • People 65 years and older
  • All residents in long-term care
  • People ages 18 and older with certain underlying medical conditions(link is external)
    • Cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Chronic lung diseases, including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, and pulmonary hypertension
    • Dementia or other neurological conditions
    • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
    • Down syndrome
    • Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension)
    • HIV infection
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
    • Liver disease
    • Overweight and obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
    • Smoking, current or former
    • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
    • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
    • Substance use disorder
  • People ages 18 and older who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their job or institutional settings. Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers:
    • First responders (health care workers, firefighters, police, staff at congregate care facilities)
    • Education staff (teachers, support staff, childcare workers)
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers
    • This list could be updated in the future

J & J booster dose recommendation:

DHS recommends that the following populations receive a booster dose of J & J vaccine at least 2 months after receiving their first dose in order to further strengthen their immunity:

  • People age 18 and older

“Booster doses are intended to help people who are vaccinated maintain the highest possible level of immune system protection for as long as possible,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer for the Bureau of Communicable Diseases. “It’s important to remember that all the authorized COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection after the primary series. Getting every eligible person vaccinated continues to be our most important strategy for preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”

A booster dose serves a different purpose than the additional dose recommended for certain immunocompromised people in early August. The additional doses are for people with certain medical conditions or who are receiving certain treatments leaving them moderately or severely immunocompromised and who may not have built a strong enough immune response after their initial vaccine. In contrast, a ‘booster dose’ refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after their initial vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time—also referred to as waning immunity. Evidence suggests that immunity is waning over time for some people who were initially well-protected by the vaccine. For those people, a booster dose will strengthen and extend their protection against infection, serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.

For additional information about booster doses, additional doses, and help accessing your COVID-19 vaccine record to determine when you may be recommended for a booster, visit the DHS Additional Doses and Booster Doses webpage.

With the high-level of disease transmission in Wisconsin, DHS continues to urge everyone who is not vaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and for all people to add additional layers of protection including masking up indoors, staying home when feeling sick, and avoiding large indoor gatherings.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider in your community, visit Vaccines.gov(link is external), or call 211 or 877-947-2211. For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. You can also follow @DHSWI on Facebook(link is external)Twitter(link is external), or dhs.wi on Instagram(link is external) for more information on COVID-19.