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CDC supports call for second COVID booster shot for high-risk individuals

The CDC has approved a plan to permit people over 65 and immunocompromised individuals to receive a second dose of the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine.

This supports the FDA Approval Tuesday the extra recording.

“Following FDA's regulatory actions, CDC has taken steps to simplify COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and allow more flexibility for higher-risk people who want the option of additional protection from additional COVID-19 vaccine doses,” the CDC said. said in a statement.

The agency follows the recommendations of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which met early Wednesday. Although there was no vote, the group reiterated its commitment to booster shots overall and suggested that each one Americans over age 6 who haven't yet received a bivalent mRNA COVID-19 booster should receive one.

But most others who've already received the bivalent vaccine – which targets the unique COVID strain and the 2 omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 – should wait until the autumn to get the available updated vaccine.

The panel made exceptions for people over 65 and immunocompromised individuals because they're at higher risk for severe COVID-19 complications, Evelyn Twentyman, MD, MPH, the chief official of the CDC's COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Unit, said during Wednesday's meeting.

People over 65 can now go for a second bivalent mRNA booster shot, provided the last one was a minimum of 4 months ago, she said. Immunocompromised people also needs to have the pliability to receive a number of additional bivalent booster shots a minimum of two months after a primary dose.

Regardless of whether someone is unvaccinated and what number of single-strain COVID vaccines an individual has received previously, they need to receive a bivalent mRNA vaccine, Twentyman said.

If you will have already received a bivalent mRNA booster shot – either from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna – “your vaccination is complete,” she said. “No doses are currently indicated, come back to us in fall 2023.”

The CDC is attempting to encourage more people to get the present COVID vaccine, as only 17% of Americans of all ages have received a bivalent booster and only 43% of those over 65.

The CDC followed the FDA's lead in its statement and phased out the unique single-strain COVID vaccine, saying it was now not really useful to be used within the United States.

“Unnecessary drama” resulting from children’s recommendations

The CDC panel largely followed FDA recommendations regarding who should receive a booster shot, but many ACIP members expressed concerns and confusion about what was really useful for kids.

For children ages 6 months to 4 years, the CDC provides tables to assist doctors determine what number of bivalent doses to present based on the kid's vaccination history.

All children this age should receive a minimum of two doses of vaccine, considered one of which must be bivalent, Twentyman said. For children on this age group who've already received a monovalent series and a bivalent dose, “their vaccination is complete,” she said.

Similar recommendations apply to 5-year-olds in the event that they have received a monovalent vaccine series from Pfizer. However, in the event that they have previously received a Moderna vaccine, the vaccination schedule have to be individually adjusted resulting from different dosages.

ACIP member Sarah S. Long, MD, professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, said it's unclear why a hard and fast age can't be set for the COVID-19 vaccination, as is the case for other immunizations.

“We have chosen 60 months for most childhood vaccinations,” Long said. “Immunologically, there is no difference between a 4-year-old, a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old.”

“There is no reason for such unnecessary drama at this age.”

Long said different age groups make it difficult for pediatricians to accumulate adequate vaccine supplies.

The CDC will soon provide more detailed guidance on its COVID-19 website, Twentyman said, and it'll hold a conference call with health professionals on May 11 to debate the updated recommendations.

New vaccine by autumn

Both CDC and ACIP members said they hope to have a fair simpler vaccination plan in place by fall, when the FDA could have approved a brand new, updated bivalent vaccine that targets other COVID variants.

ACIP Chair Grace M. Lee, MD, MPH, acknowledged that confusion stays about COVID-19 vaccination, saying, “We all recognize that this is an ongoing project.”

“The goal is really to simplify things over time to better communicate to our providers, patients and families which vaccine is right for them, when they need it and how often they should get it,” said Lee, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California.