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Monday, September 27, 2021

CDC Approves Pfizer Booster Dose for those at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational settings

CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' (ACIP) recommendation for a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in specific populations and also recommended a booster dose for those in high risk occupational and institutional settings.

 The action by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides for the administration of booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after completion of the primary series to help increase protection for the following: 

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot;  
  • people age 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot;
  • people age 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, including healthcare workers, may receive a booster shot, based on their individual benefits and risks.

Dr. Walensky stated, "As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact. At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”

“I believe we can best serve the nation's public health needs by providing booster doses for the elderly, those in long-term care facilities, people with underlying medical conditions, and for adults at high risk of disease from occupational and institutional exposures to COVID-19. This aligns with the FDA's booster authorization and makes these groups eligible for a booster shot. Today, ACIP only reviewed data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. We will address, with the same sense of urgency, recommendations for the Moderna and J&J vaccines as soon as those data are available.”

“While today's action was an initial step related to booster shots, it will not distract from our most important focus of primary vaccination in the United States and around the world. I want to thank ACIP for their thoughtful discussion and scientific deliberation on the current data which informed my recommendation."


The New Jersey Department of Health is directing our vaccination partners in the state to begin administering booster doses to eligible individuals immediately. Individuals will self-identify according to the categories above and will not be required by vaccination providers to provide proof of a medical condition or a note from a medical provider in order to receive a booster dose in New Jersey. 

Adults aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside. Since that risk can vary across settings and based on how much COVID-19 is spreading in a community, people aged 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot after considering their individual risks and benefits. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.

Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers as previously detailed by the CDC*

· First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)

· Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)

· Food and agriculture workers

· Manufacturing workers

· Corrections workers

· U.S. Postal Service workers

· Public transit workers

· Grocery store workers

*List could be updated in the future

There are over 1,600 vaccination sites across New Jersey – more than 1,000 of which offer the Pfizer vaccine – and the Department of Health continues to work to add additional sites. Many sites have walk-in availability and extended hours. To find a vaccination site and book an appointment online, visit or call the state's Vaccine Call Center at 1-855-568-0545.  

Our efforts also include homebound individuals. Individuals who received Pfizer can reach out directly to their local health department or complete the intake form available at For assistance completing the survey by phone, please contact the call center. 

People who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not yet eligible for the booster shots authorized by the federal government. 

In a statement, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said the CDC "will also evaluate with similar urgency available data in the coming weeks to swiftly make additional recommendations for other populations or people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines." 

FDA Fact Sheet:

Recommended Citation: Jon L. Gelman,   CDC Approves Pfizer Booster Dose for those at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational settings, Workers' Compensation Blog (Sept. 27, 2021),

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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (Thomson-Reuters). For over four decades, the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

Blog: Workers ' Compensation

Twitter: jongelman

LinkedIn: JonGelman

LinkedIn Group: Injured Workers Law & Advocacy Group

Author: "Workers' Compensation Law" Thomson-Reuters