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Moderna COVID vaccine boosters now available in Louisiana

The health department added that boosters are also now recommended for everyone 18-years-old and above who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Health announced Friday that booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are now available for certain high-risk adults.

The health department added that boosters are also now recommended for everyone 18-years-old and above who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes into effect immediately.

Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the CDC says specific Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients qualify, too. And in a bigger change, the agency is allowing the flexibility of “mixing and matching" that extra dose regardless of which type people received first.

The CDC panel didn't explicitly recommend anyone get a different brand than they started with but left open the option — saying only that a booster of some sort was recommended. And some of the advisers said they would prefer that J&J recipients receive a competitor's booster, citing preliminary data from an ongoing government study that suggested a bigger boost in virus-fighting antibodies from that combination.

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Age 18 or older and have one of many underlying medical conditions that may increase their risk for a severe COVID infection
  • Age 18 or older and live or work in a setting that places them at risk of being exposed to COVID, including long-term care settings

Johnson & Johnson

For those who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Hospitalizations decline

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Louisiana continue to decline and are now approaching levels reported before the Delta variant surged through the state.

On Thursday, there were 342 COVID-19 patients reported hospitalized across Louisiana. Of those patients, 89 percent were unvaccinated.

Louisiana reported 681 new cases and 16 new deaths since Thursday. In total, 14,462 people in Louisiana have died since the pandemic began.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.