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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
Cell 302-612-6223

Date: November 19, 2021


DOVER, DE (Nov. 19, 2021) - Following action today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) advisory committee, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) is encouraging all fully vaccinated Delawareans 18 and older to get a booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines.

On Friday, the FDA expanded booster dose eligibility to all adults 18 and older, who were originally fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at least 6 months prior. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices subsequently voted to recommend expanding booster eligibility to align with the FDA's authorization. Originally, eligibility was limited to individuals 65 and older and those 18-64 with underlying health conditions or occupational or residential risks of exposure to COVID-19. Booster doses were already approved for anyone who initially received J&;J, 2 months after their original vaccine.

Evidence from clinical studies show that boosters do not merely top off immunity, but elevate protection well beyond peak levels from the primary series. Some experts say the elevated levels of protection can be as high as 95%. The same study showed an 85% reduction in hospitalization, 76% reduction in severe disease, and 94% reduction in deaths in those who received a booster dose. Boosters are designed to increase protection from COVID-19 in those who originally mounted a good immune response from vaccination to begin with. Boosters became recommended after some evidence of waning immunity over time, especially as the Delta variant surged.

"We applaud the latest federal action to make all adults eligible for a booster vaccine," said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. "COVID-19 cases are again rising and having this tool in our arsenal can help us in holding off another winter surge that could come with people gathering inside more often as the weather turns colder."

Dr. Rattay says, ultimately, the most effective step continues to be for more people to get their first and second doses of the vaccine as over 75% of current COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among people who have not yet been vaccinated.

For more information on second, third and booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, visit

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the FDA's rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support approval or authorization of a vaccine.

Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for emergency use by FDA. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.