CDC warns Guam about not following COVID booster shot rules

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has written a letter to the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services, warning Public Health to comply with the rules regarding COVID-19 vaccination booster shots.

“I’ve heard that they’re coming down hard on the immunization department about their hearing rumors that we’re just giving it to anybody that’s 18 and above and told us basically to cease and desist,” Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, DPHSS Interim Chief Medical Officer, said during Thursday morning’s media briefing.

As per CDC, only the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

= 65 years and older
= Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
= Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
= Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings

Dr. Leon Guerrero said Public Health must continue to comply with these requirements, otherwise, the CDC may cut off its supply of booster shots to Guam.

“So anybody that’s not in that criteria, we cannot give a booster as of yet,” Dr. Leon Guerrero said.

He did say that CDC is looking at the possibility of recommending a full blanket approval of booster shots for all residents 18 years or older, six months after receiving their second COVID vaccine dose.

“I think they’re meeting at the end of this week to make a decision on that. But until there’s a final decision, we have to stick with the original rules,” Dr. Leon Guerrero said.

According to ABC News, leaders from nine states — Arkansas, California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and West Virginia — have already moved to formally and informally endorse the expansion of booster shots to all adult residents who are at least six months out of their second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

But DPHSS COVID-19 Epidemiology/Surveillance Branch Lead Annette Aguon said these states will have to deal with repercussions and consequences from the CDC.

“They made those announcements. But again, CDC has reminded all jurisdictions that you need to stay in compliance with their recommendations and their guidance because those vaccines are coming free of charge from CDC to the respective jurisdictions. Also, enrolled COVID providers sign an agreement from CDC that says they will comply with all CDC recommendations and guidance. So we cannot go off script from that just because we want to do it and just because we saw another state do it. Those states will have to deal with consequences from CDC,” Aguon said.

She added that it wasn’t only Guam that was reminded to comply with booster shot rules, but other states as well.

“Everyone was reminded. They asked us about plans to expand like those other states because, of course, there’s a ripple effect when we see another state doing something like that. The question was sent to all jurisdictions, asking whether they’re going to follow suit and they are reminding us that that is not allowed,” Aguon said.

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