More states moving forward with plans to provide boosters to all adults

More states are moving forward with plans to provide COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, with hopes that supplementing people’s protection against the virus will help bring an end to the pandemic.

Officials in Minnesota, Maine and Kansas announced this week that their states will provide COVID-19 booster shots to all fully vaccinated adults who received their second doses at least six months ago.

Current federal guidance on booster shots says that individuals over the age of 65, those who are at high risk because of their work or where they live, and others with underlying medical conditions should get a third jab.

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The Food and Drug Administration, however, is expected to expand that group to all adults for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as early as Thursday, according to The New York Times.

Despite the federal guidance, a number of states are giving all fully vaccinated adults the green light to receive a third jab, including Arkansas, California and Colorado.

Minnesota Health Department Commissioner Jan Malcolm on Tuesday said her state will expand booster shot eligibility to all adults by the end of the week if the federal government does not revise its guidance first, according to The Associated Press.

She cited the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Gopher State as the reason the move is necessary.

“Given the alarming surge in COVID cases that Minnesota is facing, with the current case levels that we have, and as we now head indoors for the winter and gather for the holidays, this booster protection is particularly important and timely,” Malcolm said, according to the AP.

Infections have been on the rise since the end of October, hitting as many as 4,400 new cases per day, according to data collected by the Times.

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On Wednesday, officials in Kansas announced that all fully vaccinated adults who received their second shot at least six months ago and are at a high risk of contracting the disease are eligible to receive a third dose. The state noted that currently all Kansas counties are experiencing a high risk of community transmission.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman said the new guidance is necessary as the state moves into the winter months, when there is a higher potential for transmission.

“As we move into the winter months, Kansans will increasingly be indoors, putting themselves at greater risk of contracting the virus,” Norman said in a statement.

“Allowing Kansans to self-determine their risk of exposure to COVID-19 ensures that every tool is available to protect themselves and reduce the possibility of a winter COVID-19 surge,” he added.

In Maine, vaccinated adults who have been fully immunized for at least six months with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or for at least two months with the Johnson & Johnson shot are eligible to get a third jab as of Wednesday. The state said that because of rising community transmission rates, Maine’s health agency has determined that all individuals are at a high risk for exposure.