Rapid Testing and Booster Update
Early indications are that the protection against the Omicron variant of COVID-19 more than doubles with a booster dose (compared to the primary series of the vaccine).
The Centers for Disease Control recently updated its recommendation for COVID-19 vaccines with a preference for people to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shot over Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
In advance of holiday gatherings, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) offers the following information about expanded access to rapid testing, COVID-19 booster doses and primary series vaccines:
Rapid and PCR testing sites: visit portal.ri.gov to make an appointment whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, and for a list of updated locations and details.
Vaccines: Everyone who is 16 and older is eligible to get a booster dose in RI if it has been 6 months from the last dose of the two dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or 2 months from the initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Primary series COVID-19 vaccine is available for persons 5 years of age and older. To make an appointment and get additional information, visit C19vaccineRI.org or call 844-930-1779.
For more detailed information on the availability of rapid testing and vaccines, visit ri.gov.
(This information is current as of 12/20/21 and is subject to change/update.)
Brown Medicine follows RI Dept. of Health (RIDOH) and CDC guidance for booster shots.
Boosters for those who are not immunocompromised, who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine:
Only certain populations initially vaccinated with the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should get a booster shot at this time:
- People aged 65 years and older and adults 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions should get a booster shot
- Residents aged 18 years and older of long-term care settings should get a booster shot of.
- People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks.
- People aged 18-64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks.
- 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 (which may be updated in the future) as follows:
- First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
- Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections workers
- Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
Johnson & Johnson
A single booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may be administered two months or more after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to:
- Anyone age 18 or older.
Boosters for those who are immunocompromised:
Moderately to severely immunocompromised persons who have already received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than 28 days ago are eligible and no doctor’s order or note is required. Immunocompromised people are/have:
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies;
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy;
- Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy);
- Moderate or severe immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome);
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection;
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., 20mg or more of prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.
Booster and immunocompromise third doses are available at many retail pharmacy, medical, state-run and hospital sites as well as community vaccination clinics throughout Rhode Island. Visit vaccinateri.org or call 844-930-1779 or 2-1-1. Be sure to pay attention to the specific vaccine being administered at the site if this matters to you.
Rhode Island uses a self-attestation model for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or have other qualifying conditions or work duties. They will not be required to provide documentation of their health status or work duties.
The CDC website is a good source of up-to-date information: