MDH prepared to expand COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility by end of week

(KSTP) – The Minnesota Department of Health is preparing to expand eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots by the end of the week.

During a regular call on Tuesday, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the state has told federal partners that it will expand booster eligibility at the end of the week, even if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hasn’t yet formally approved it.

Malcolm said MDH is concerned enough about the surge of COVID-19 in the state and believes it’s urgent enough to make boosters available to every Minnesotan. She added that MDH does get a sense that federal partners are close to approving booster expansion, anyway.

“We’re optimistic that the message from Minnesota and many other states has been heard and that the federal government is close to announcing that expansion," said Malcolm during the call.

"However, I would say that given the very serious circumstances here in Minnesota we’ve been communicating with our federal partners that we are planning to move ahead independently this week to expand booster eligibility if there is no action at the federal level, which we definitely hope there will be this week.”

According to federal action up to this point, there are still some restrictions on who’s been approved for boosters. Starting six months past their last Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, people are urged to get a booster if they’re:

  • 65 or older.
  • Nursing home residents.
  • At least 50 and at increased risk of severe disease because of health problems.

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