By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is encouraging residents to follow the CDC’s recently updated recommendation that Pfizer recipients who have completed their initial COVID-19 vaccine series get a booster shot at five months instead of six months, expanding protection against COVID-19 to more people sooner.
“With cases rising throughout the state, vaccines are our most potent weapons against this formidable virus and its variants, particularly the highly transmissible Omicron variant,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a press release from the department. “We all want the best protections for ourselves and especially our children, and vaccines and boosters are key to keeping us safer.”
The CDC also recommended that moderately or severely immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11 be able to receive a third dose 28 days after their second shot, which will help strengthen protections for this vulnerable population. Eligibility for these groups is effective immediately, according to the department.
“Children ages 5 to 11 years who are moderately to severely immunocompromised can now receive a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine,” Dr. Margaret Fisher, a pediatrician and special advisor to Commissioner Persichilli, said in the press release. “This includes children with inherited immunodeficiencies, some children undergoing cancer chemotherapy, children who have received organ transplants and are undergoing immunosuppressive therapy as well as other children who require corticosteroids or immune modulating biologics. Parents should speak with their pediatricians or other healthcare providers to see if their child qualifies for this third dose.”
The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for boosters in individuals ages 16 and up and is currently the only vaccine authorized and recommended for children ages 5-11.
According to the NJ Department of Health, currently, 6.3 million New Jersey residents are fully vaccinated and 44.7 percent of potentially eligible New Jersey residents have completed booster doses. Nearly 2.3 million New Jersey residents have completed booster doses in New Jersey, in other states, or through federal programs while more than 2.8 million residents who are potentially eligible have yet to receive their booster doses.
The NJDOH is encouraging those who have yet to get the vaccine to do so right away.
“Individuals who have yet to be vaccinated are strongly encouraged to get their first dose today to protect themselves, their families, and their community, and talk to their doctor or healthcare provider if they have any questions,” a statement from the NJDOH stated. “If you are eligible for a booster dose, do not delay and get it today.”
There are approximately 2,000 vaccination sites in New Jersey. Visit covid19.nj.gov/finder to locate a vaccination site or if you need help finding an appointment, call the state’s Vaccine Call Center at 1-855-568-0545.
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