North Dakota Department of Health’s Immunization Director Molly Howell has released a statement following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsement of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots.

Howell says the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective and the department is continuing to recommend booster doses to certain individuals, and now that people are able to mix vaccine brands, it provides “flexibility and choice” for North Dakotans.

She also said the department has already placed an order for 10,200 doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine in anticipation of it being authorized and recommended to children ages five to 11.

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safe and are highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death. Effectiveness is waning against mild to moderate infection, which is why booster doses are recommended for certain individuals. People who are 65 or older, have an underlying health condition, or live or work in certain institutional or occupational settings are able to receive a booster dose. People may choose which brand of vaccine they want to receive for the booster dose, providing flexibility and choice for North Dakotans as they take proactive steps to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.”

Statement from Immunization Director Molly Howell

To date, 36,588 North Dakotans have received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Booster doses for those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine may not be available until later next week.

Howell says the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee will discuss the authorization of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine next week as well. If authorized and recommended, those doses the department ordered could be available as soon as Nov. 4.