By CBS Baltimore Staff

BALTIMORE (WJZ) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has amended the emergency use authorization for Moderna booster shots.

Now, people who are 18 years old or older can get a Moderna booster shot every five months. Previously, the FDA had recommended that those who have been vaccinated receive booster shots every six months.

READ MORE: Investigation Ongoing Into Vacant Home Fire That Killed 3 Baltimore Firefighters

The shorter booster shot window allows people to remain protected from COVID-19 during a time period when hospitalizations are on the rise due to the Omicron variant.

Maryland’s COVID-19 hospitalizations surpassed 3,000 as of late Monday. The following morning, Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency to combat the public health crisis.

READ MORE: Businesses Owners On The Block Protest Proposal To Close Establishments On The Street By 10 P.M.

“The country is in the middle of a wave of the highly contagious omicron variant, which spreads more rapidly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and other variants that have emerged,” Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said. “Vaccination is our best defense against COVID-19, including the circulating variants, and shortening the length of time between completion of a primary series and a booster dose may help reduce waning immunity.”

The FDA noted that people who receive the Moderna booster shot might experience side effects such as pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. Fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, and chills are common side effects too, according to the press statement.

The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Maryland prompted Hogan to sign a pair of executive orders early in the week. The first order empowered the Maryland Department of Health to regulate hospital staffing and resources. The second order activated 1,000 Maryland National Guard members to shore up the state’s EMS ranks.

MORE NEWS: Shooting At Towson Student-Centered Apartment Building Under Investigation

By Wednesday, Hogan had announced that the state would open an additional 20 COVID-19 testing clinics near hospital sites. Ten of those centers will be operational by the end of next week, he said.

CBS Baltimore Staff