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Governor McKee and RIDOH Urge COVID-19 Boosters for Adults in Advance of Thanksgiving Gatherings

RHODE ISLAND, November 19 - Reiterating their encouragement from earlier this week for all eligible adults to get COVID-19 vaccine booster doses, and following the announcement from federal health officials today formally expanding eligibility to all fully vaccinated adults, Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are urging all fully vaccinated adults who plan to gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving to get booster doses as soon as possible.

"COVID-19 booster shots were made available to adults today nationwide," said Governor Dan McKee. "Get your third dose as soon as possible. A shot today can help our community members protect each other as we head indoors for the colder months. Vaccinations are now available for almost all Rhode Islanders. A short appointment can save lives and prevent empty seats around the table this holiday season."

"Booster doses are a critical tool in our fight to limit serious illness from COVID-19, and to limit transmission of COVID-19," said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. "When you get a booster dose, you start to build some additional immunity almost right away. Everyone who is 18 and older, who is already fully vaccinated, and who plans to see family and friends on Thanksgiving should get a booster dose as soon as possible to help protect themselves and the people they love."

Rhode Islanders 18 and older who received two doses of Pfizer vaccine, two doses of Moderna vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccibe booster dose. People are eligible for booster doses at least six months after their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months after receiving a dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Today's announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came after the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed immune response data and determined that booster doses provide additional protection against serious COVID-19 illness in adults 18 to 64 years old.

Prior to today, a booster dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine was available for people 65 and older, people 18 to 64 at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, and people 18 through 64 with higher risk for exposure to COVID-19. However, earlier this week Rhode Island took the first step toward expanding booster dose eligibility. State health officials had announced that given the elevated rate of COVID-19 transmission and given that Rhode Islanders will be heading indoors for the winter months, most Rhode Islanders 18 to 64 years of age were at greater exposure and were eligible to receive a booster dose. With today's authorization from the FDA and recommendation from the CDC, booster doses are now available to everyone age 18 or older who is fully vaccinated, regardless of their risk for exposure.

There is ample supply of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses in Rhode Island. With the exception of clinics at schools for children 5 to 11 years old, booster doses are available at all locations where first and second doses of vaccine are available. More information about COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine boosters is available at