University of Utah Health supports Governor Spencer Cox’s decision to authorize booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines for all people living in Utah who are aged 18 and older. Individuals in this group are eligible if it has been at least six months since receiving their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months following one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The Governor’s decision precedes a similar recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all U.S. adults. It is the right thing to do to protect Utahns at this time. COVID-19 transmission remains very high across nearly all counties in Utah and statewide case rates also remain high. This qualifies Utahns as living in a high-risk setting, meeting the current criteria from the CDC for booster eligibility. Vaccination is the best protection against hospitalization and death from COVID-19 but there is evidence of some waning of protection over time. This is particularly true for adults aged 65 and older, who are unable to mount a robust immune response.
Colder weather and the holidays are around the corner and that will bring people indoors, increasing risk for COVID-19 infection and transmission. It is prudent to take all measures to protect ourselves and one another at this time. Utahns should get a booster if they are eligible, mask if they are in crowded areas indoors where there may be people who are unvaccinated, and stay home if they are sick. Anyone who has not received the COVID-19 vaccine should schedule a vaccination appointment as soon as they can.
It has been nearly a year since the first Utahn received a COVID-19 vaccine and we have come so far since then, but the pandemic is not over. Working together, we can get through this.