MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Biden administration is expected later this week to recommend that the majority of Americans get a booster shot eight months after their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Minnesota health officials caution that residents who aren’t immunocompromised should not be seeking another dose right now.READ MORE: Grandma, 102, Attends Both Grandsons' Football Game After Recovering From COVID
Late last week, the federal health officials approved a third dose of the vaccine for people with weakened immune systems to give them an extra layer of protection. That’s 115,000 people 18 or older in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health said.
Eden Prairie resident Chad Bergo, 48, who has an immune disorder, said he got his third dose Tuesday.
“It kind of excited me, the possibility of getting a little extra protection,” Bergo said. “I jumped on it right away.”
A third dose, described as a “booster” shot for the rest of the population, could soon be on the horizon for the majority of Americans, CBS News and other outlets reported. The shots would be administered once the vaccines receive full approval from the FDA and CDC, which is expected to happen in mid-to late September.
The guidance would recommend extra doses for those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; officials are still waiting on more data on those who got Johnson & Johnson.
State officials on Tuesday said they hadn’t heard any official recommendation from the federal government and urged Minnesotans that they do not need the extra shot right now, and shouldn’t make an effort to get it unless they fall into the immunocompromised population.READ MORE: MN Doctor Says Hospitals Strained By COVID Patients, And 'Vaccination Is The Answer'
“People who have not yet gotten their first and second dose, that needs to be a priority along with this very specific group of immunocompromised individuals for whom getting that third dose is really important to increase their protection,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a call with reporters.
They also note based on staggered times of vaccinations earlier this year — and the eight months post-vaccination recommendation that’s likely coming — not everyone would be eligible all at once, which could head off a surge in demand if approved.
This comes as COVID infections in the country and in Minnesota are increasing due to the more contagious Delta variant of the virus. Malcolm said there’s a 54% increase in case rates compared to the same point last year.
“You could actually be doing yourself a disservice if you try and get a booster prematurely because you’ll be essentially wasting protective time for vaccine effectiveness,” Malcolm said.
The Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education on Tuesday announced the state will offer free testing options — rapid and PCR tests — to any school in the state that seeks them. It is strongly recommended, but not mandated.
Based on current levels of spread, the department recommends unvaccinated kids in school and teachers and staff get tested weekly for COVID-19 this year. Guidance also says unvaccinated students involved in sports or other extracurricular activities should be tested more frequently.
If school-age children are vaccinated, they should be tested for COVID-19 if they exhibit symptoms, according to the department’s suggestions.MORE NEWS: COVID In MN: MDH Reports 2,645 More Virus Cases As Latest Positivity Rate Hovers At 7.1%
The CDC and state health officials support vaccinations for everyone 12 and older — the only people so far approved for the shots.