February 23, 2024

The Business Case for Boosters

Stephen Massey
Managing Director, Health Action Alliance

The CDC finds ‘compelling evidence’ that boosters should be available to all adults, based on their safety, effectiveness and rising case numbers.

Clearing up any confusion around who can get a COVID-19 vaccination booster shot, on Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made boosters immediately available to all adults regardless of their age, underlying health or work environment. 

The CDC cited “compelling evidence” in coming to this decision: daily COVID-19 cases have risen by 40 percent in the last three weeks, data from 26 million people who have received the boosters showed them to be safe, and studies show that a booster restores the protection that wanes over time after vaccination. The CDC said that protection is especially important for people over age 50. 

With this clarity, businesses are encouraged to take the following actions:

  • Make sure all workers over 18 know they can get a booster. Currently, 40 percent of all adults, and 2 out of 3 under age 30, are unsure if they’re eligible. They are all eligible now, whether they work from home or around other people.

  • Consider offering paid time off for booster shots. A “boosted” workforce is better protected against breakthrough infections requiring isolation and quarantine, as well as serious illnesses that cause long absences.

  • Support working parents by recommending they get their eligible children (ages 5 and up) vaccinated while the parents receive their booster—again, ideally, with paid time off to do so.

  • Frame the booster shots positively. More than 60 percent of adults agree: boosters show that medical experts are finding new ways to keep vaccines effective. The vaccines are working well to prevent serious illness; boosters keep protection high, even from mild cases.

As a reminder, all people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are recommended to get a booster two months after their original dose. All adults who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are eligible to get a booster six months after their second shot. People can “mix and match” vaccine brands for their booster shot.

The CDC’s latest action still does not change the definition of “fully vaccinated.”