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Hawaii health officials to authorize booster doses for Moderna, J&J vaccines

The Hawaii Department of Health today said it will authorize booster doses for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the state according to federal guidelines.

The DOH announcement comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s endorsement of booster doses for the two vaccines. The CDC’s advisory panel also endorsed the “mixing and matching” of the extra dose regardless of which type of vaccine people received first.

Hawaii providers in late September already began offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to qualified individuals that earlier received the same brand of vaccine.

“Boosters doses are common for many vaccines and will provide additional protection to Hawaii residents at higher risk for severe illness or occupational exposure,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char in a news release. “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 Hawaii residents to complete their initial vaccine series.”

The state recommends the following:

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

>> Individuals ages 18 and up who live in long-term care settings

>> Individuals ages 18 and up who have underlying medical conditions

>> Individuals ages 18 and up who work or live in high-risk settings

The 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. J&J 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, according to the DOH, and all are effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death.

The state said first and second doses will continue to be prioritized over any booster doses as the “best way to protect Hawaii families and communities.”

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