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COVID-19 booster doses approved

NEW ULM — The FDA and CDC have approved booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Pfizer had been approved for booster doses in September.

Now, those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago may receive a booster dose of the vaccine if they are:

• 65 years of age and older

• 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings

• 18 years and older who have underlying medical conditions (see below)

• 18 years and older who work or live in high-risk settings

Underlying medical conditions that qualify for a booster dose include:

Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Chronic Lung Disease, Dementia, Diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2), Down Syndrome, Heart Conditions, HIV Infection, Immunocompromised State, Mental Health Conditions, Overweight and Obesity, Pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia, Smoking (Current or Former), Solid Organ or Blood Cell Transplant, Stroke or Cerebrovascular Disease, Substance Use Disorders, Tuberculosis

Those people 18 years of age or older who received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine may also receive a booster dose as long as their first dose was at least two months ago.

Additionally, anyone who has completed their primary vaccination series may choose which vaccine they would like to receive as a booster, allowing people to mix and match dosing for booster shots. For example, if a Moderna series was originally completed, you may choose to receive a booster dose of Pfizer. The default at Brown County Public Health vaccine clinics will be to stay with whatever individuals received for their 1st and 2nd doses unless they request something different.

Brown County Public Health will open appointments at their Booster Dose clinics for anyone who is eligible to receive a booster dose. Appointments will be required for all booster doses. Clinic dates and times can be found at www.co.brown.mn.us/covidvaccine or by calling 507-233-6820.

The public health department continues to encourage anyone who has yet to receive their 1st or 2nd doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated. If there are concerns about COVID 19 vaccination we encourage individuals to talk with their provider, pharmacist, or public health department about those concerns. The vaccines are safe and effective at reducing illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. Appointments and walk-ins are available each Thursday at the Brown County Public Health office from 1:30-6pm for 1st or 2nd doses.

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