AUGUSTA — Following the lead set by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending Pfizer booster COVID-19 shots for people 65 and over, Maine officials announced today they would be following federal guidelines.

Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of Maine Health and Human Services, along with Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, issued a joint statement Sept. 24 saying the state has an ample supply of the Pfizer vaccine and that a system is in place to provide the booster shots.

“Boosters provide an added layer of protection for individuals at higher risk from COVID-19, and we encourage those eligible for a booster dose to find a convenient time to get their shot,” Lambrew and Shah said.

According to the federal CDC, besides people 65 and over, residents in long-term care settings should also receive a booster shot six months after having their initial series of COVID-19 shots. People 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions and frontline workers with increased risk of exposure, may also receive the Pfizer booster.

People experiencing underlying medical conditions such as kidney disease, lung disease, asthma, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, dementia, diabetes, Down syndrome, heart conditions, HIV, sickle cell anemia, liver disease, stroke, substance abuse disorder, those with weakened immune systems, those overweight or obese, women who are pregnant, and organ or blood stem recipients, would be candidates to receive the Pfizer booster shot.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p0924-booster-recommendations-.html.

Lambrew and Shaw added, “…While boosters are important, our primary focus remains getting shots into the arms of unvaccinated people, who represent the majority of new COVID-19 cases in Maine today, including those who are hospitalized. 

“We urge individuals who have not yet received their first dose to arrange to do so. COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe, and widely available throughout Maine.” 

COVID-19 vaccines are available at no charge at sites across the state. For information on getting a vaccination, please visit Maine.gov/covid19/vaccines or call the community vaccination line at 1-888-445-4111.