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DOH authorizes booster doses for Moderna, J&J

The Maui News

A day after federal regulators backed the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters, the state Department of Health authorized the shots in Hawaii, recommending it for older and higher-risk residents.

“Booster doses are common for many vaccines and will provide additional protection to Hawaii residents at higher risk for severe illness or occupational exposure,” Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char said in a news release Thursday. “Boosters are expected to be widely available across the state, and CDC’s mix-and-match policy will allow for additional flexibility.

“DOH’s first priority will remain encouraging unvaccinated residents to complete their initial vaccine series.”

For Moderna vaccine recipients, a single booster dose is recommended for certain populations at least six months after the second dose, including individuals 65 years and older and individuals 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions or work or live in high-risk settings.

Moderna booster doses are half of an initial dose.

For Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients, a single booster dose is recommended at least two months after the first dose. Johnson & Johnson recipients can also elect to receive a single booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Mixing and matching of all U.S.-approved COVID-19 vaccines is allowed. The Health Department emphasized that all vaccines are effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even against the delta variant.

First and second doses will continue to be prioritized over any booster doses, the department said.

Individuals unsure if they qualify for a booster should check with their health care providers. They are still considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their primary vaccine series.

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