BOSTON — The Baker administration cleared the way Thursday for all adults in Massachusetts to receive a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine as cold weather threatens to bring a wave of new infections.
Those who have received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines must wait at least six months after their last shot to get a booster, under the state’s updated guidelines. Johnson & Johnson recipients must wait at least two months from their first shot to get a booster.
Federal health guidance allows for mixing of different COVID-19 booster doses and eligible individuals can choose which vaccine they receive as a booster.
The Baker administration said boosters will be available at more than 1,000 locations statewide — including doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies and community health centers and clinics. Appointments can be made through the state’s vaccine finder website.
The move makes Massachusetts the latest state to circumvent current federal guidelines on boosters, which have been cleared for fully vaccinated people who are 65 years and older, adults at a heightened risk of serious infection because of underlying conditions, and those with an increased risk of exposure to the virus at work.
Makers of the vaccines last week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization to allow all adults to receive their booster doses.
The FDA is expected to approve that request this week.
But several states, including Maine, Rhode Island, California and Louisiana, have moved ahead with boosters for anyone over 18 with the goal of preventing a spike in COVID-19 infections over the holidays.
Massachusetts previously cleared boosters for individuals older than 65 or suffering from underlying health conditions that put them at high risk of suffering severe complications from COVID-19.
As of Wednesday, at least 832,629 booster shots had been administered in the state, according to the Department of Public Health’s daily vaccine report.
Two weeks ago, federal health officials gave emergency authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds, making more than 515,000 additional children in Massachusetts eligible to get their shots.
Overall, Massachusetts has vaccinated more than 4.8 million people — about 80% of the eligible population — one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation.
Nationally, about 159 million people — 60% of the population — have rolled up their sleeves for a vaccine dose, with 444 million doses administered.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at email@example.com