CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all adults
WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States on Friday opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults and took the additional step of urging people 50 and over to seek one, in an effort to avoid a winter wave as coronavirus cases rise even before millions of Americans have traveled. for the holidays.
So far, Americans have faced a confusing list of who was eligible for a booster that varied depending on their age, medical condition, and the type of vaccine they received first. The Food and Drug Administration has authorized modifications to Pfizer PFE,
and Moderna mRNA,
boosters that makes it easier.
Under the new rules, anyone 18 years of age or older can choose a Pfizer or Moderna booster six months after their last dose. For all those who have received the Johnson & Johnson JNJ single dose,
vaccine, the wait was already only two months. And people can mix and match any company’s boosters.
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“We heard loud and clear that people needed something simpler – and that, I think, is simple,” FDA vaccine director Dr. Peter Marks told The Associated Press.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had to come to an agreement before the new policy became official on Friday night. CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky endorsed a recommendation from her agency’s scientific advisers who, in addition to offering all adults a booster, stressed that people 50 and over should be urged to get one. a.
“It’s a stronger recommendation,” said CDC adviser Dr. Matthew Daley of Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “I want to make sure that we provide as much protection as possible.”
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The CDC also called on those who had already qualified but had not yet signed up for a recall to stop postponing it – saying older Americans and people at risk such as l obesity, diabetes or other health problems should try to get one. Before the holidays.
The expansion makes tens of millions more Americans eligible for an extra dose of protection.
The # 1 priority for the United States and the world remains to ensure that more unvaccinated people receive their first doses. The three COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States continue to offer strong protection against serious illnesses, including hospitalization and death, without a booster.
But protection against infection can wane over time, and the United States and many countries in Europe are also questioning the extent to which to recommend boosters as they battle a winter wave of new cases. In the United States, COVID-19 diagnoses have increased steadily over the past three weeks, especially in states where colder weather has already pushed people indoors.
And a dozen states didn’t wait for federal authorities to act before opening boosters to all adults.
“The direction is not the right one. People are going more indoors and, “oops”, next week happens to be the biggest travel week of the year, so it probably makes sense to do whatever we can here to try and turn the tide. “Marks told the AP.
Vaccinations began in the United States last December, about a year after the coronavirus first appeared. More than 195 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, defined as having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna or single-dose J&J vaccines. More than 32 million people have already received a booster, a large proportion – 17 million – of people 65 years of age or older. Experts say it’s reassuring as older people are particularly at risk of COVID-19 and were among the first in line for initial vaccinations
Teen boosters are not yet under discussion, and child-sized doses of Pfizer vaccine have just been distributed to children aged 5 to 11.
The Biden administration had initially planned boosters for all adults, but until now U.S. health officials – backed by their science advisers – have questioned the need for such a widespread campaign. Instead, they initially approved Pfizer or Moderna boosters only for vulnerable groups such as older Americans or those at high risk of COVID-19 due to health issues, their work or their conditions. of life.
This time around, experts agreed that the overall benefits of extra protection from a third dose for any adult – six months after their last injection – outweighed the risks of rare side effects from Moderna’s vaccine or from Pfizer, as a type of heart inflammation seen primarily in young men.
Several other countries have discouraged the use of the Moderna vaccine in young people because of this concern, citing data suggesting that the rare side effect may occur somewhat more with this vaccine than its competitor.
Pfizer told CDC advisers that in a booster study of 10,000 people as young as 16, there were no more serious side effects from a third dose of the vaccine than previous ones. This study found that a booster restored protection against symptomatic infections to about 95%, even as the extra-contagious delta variant increased.
Britain recently released real-world data showing the same leap in protection once it started offering boosters to middle-aged and older adults, and Israel credited the widespread boosters with helping to fend off another wave of viruses.
While vaccines stimulate immune memory which protects against serious disease, protection against infection depends on levels of anti-virus antibodies which decline over time. No one knows yet how long antibody levels will stay high after a booster.
But even a temporary boost in protection against infection can help during the winter and the holidays, said Dr. Sara Oliver of the CDC.
Some experts fear that all of the focus on boosters could hurt efforts to reach the 47 million U.S. adults who remain unvaccinated. There is also growing concern that rich countries are offering large-scale boosters while poor countries have been unable to immunize more than a small fraction of their population.
“Regarding the # 1 priority to reduce transmission in this country and around the world, this remains to allow people their first round of vaccines,” said Dr. David Dowdy of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.