Skip to main content

Citing waning protection over time, US to offer COVID booster shots beginning September 20

The plan is to provide booster shots to Americans beginning the Week of Sept. 20.

With COVID-19 vaccine protection possibly waning over time, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday said Americans should get a booster shot eight months after being fully vaccinated

A joint statement issued by the nation's top health experts, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, makes it clear that vaccine protection isn't as strong at preventing infection from COVID-19 after eight months. 

The plan is to offer booster shots to all Americans starting the week of Sept. 20, though people will only be eligible if it has been at least eight months since they received their second dose.

That will put healthcare workers, nursing home residents and senior citizens first in line for a booster shot. The plan will also aims to deliver booster shots directly to long-term care facilities, which have been hit extremely hard by illness and death during the pandemic. 

"Recognizing that many vaccines are associated with a reduction in protection over time, and acknowledging that additional vaccine doses could be needed to provide long lasting protection, we have been analyzing the scientific data closely from the United States and around the world to understand how long this protection will last and how we might maximize this protection," the statement says, noting that COVID-19 vaccines have been "remarkably effective." 

HHS notes that the FDA is in the process of developing a plan to provide boost shots this fall, though the plan is subject to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determining the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

"Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout," the message continues. "For that reason, we conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability."

People who received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine are not yet eligible for a booster shot, but HHS says it more information about J&J recipients should be available "in the next few weeks." 

A recent preprint study (meaning it has not been properly reviewed) involving 25,000 Mayo Clinic Health System COVID-19 patients revealed that six months after completing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series, the vaccine's effectiveness at preventing infection from the delta variant dropped to 42%. Moderna was more protective (76%), according to the study. 

Related: Mayo Clinic: Don't jump to conclusions about vaccine efficacy study

The data coincides with an increasing number of breakthrough cases, which are defined as people testing positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

Through July, 18 the Minnesota Department of Health has tallied 7,171 breakthrough cases statewide, including 584 hospitalizations and 60 deaths.

However, this represents a tiny fraction of the nearly 3 million Minnesotans who were fully vaccinated as of July 18, showing the effectiveness of the available COVID vaccines.

Next Up

fire truck

Explosion reported near Hastings; man airlifted to hospital

Authorities say the victim has serious injuries.

Screen Shot 2022-10-05 at 2.30.07 PM

School faces uncertain future after land sold to Catholic nonprofit

The school near Marine on St. Croix sits on land that's just been sold.


Boy suffers 'life-threatening' injuries in car-bike collision in Minneapolis

Police said the driver is cooperating with the investigation.

North Memorial Health Hospital

Man dies from gunshot wounds after Minneapolis shooting

The death marked the 69th homicide of the year in the city.


Gallery: Island cabin is one of northernmost homes for sale in MN

Want to buy one of the northernmost homes on the market in Minnesota?

Screen Shot 2022-09-30 at 4.54.42 PM

Charges: Houston men robbed Edina bank of $110,000

A third suspect has not yet been identified.

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys coming to Minnesota for 2023 tour

The rock band hasn't gone on tour in the United States since 2019.


Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

FDA grants emergency use of COVID-19 booster shot for immunocompromised

A booster shot would serve as a third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer booster shots immediately available for select Minnesotans

118 fully vaccinated Minnesotans have died from COVID-19.

vaccine, covid, moderna

Mayo Clinic: Don't jump to conclusions about vaccine effectiveness study

The study found that vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease, but perhaps not as strong at infection prevention.

pixabay - covid vaccine record card

COVID-19 booster shots now available to all Minnesota adults

Gov. Tim Walz's announcement qualifies around 1.7 million people in Minnesota for a booster shot.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota 16- and 17-year-olds can now get a COVID-19 booster

Gov. Tim Walz announced 16 and 17-year-olds in the state are now recommended to receive a booster shortly after the CDC cleared the Pfizer shot for that age group.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, September 3

The next update will be provided Tuesday, Sept. 7.

covid, vaccine

Twin Cities Con to offer COVID vaccines, MOA giving boosters

The governor's office and Department of Health made the announcement Thursday.

covid-19, coronavirus

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, September 28

The newest information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health.