CDC approves 2nd dose omicron Covid booster in older adults

Can I get a Covid booster? After the FDA okay, the CDC cleared a second dose of the omicron Covid booster for older adults and people with weakened immune systems.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported an updated Covid booster for people over 65 and those with weak immune systems.

The FDA approved an additional dose of on Tuesday.

The FDA announced that those 65 years and older could receive a second dose four months or more after their previous dose of Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna Covid booster. According to the FDA, most immunocompromised people can receive an additional dose two months after receiving their previous dose.

The FDA approved the change after the Advisory Committee on Immuniization Practices , the agency’s advisory committee, met hours earlier to discuss. The CDC’s approval means that shots can begin immediately.

The CDC, following the FDA decision, has also recommended using bivalent formulas in all Covid vaccinations going forward. It is also doing away with multidose primary series vaccines for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

This means that people who are not yet vaccinated would only need one dose of the updated primary series vaccine.

Last August , the booster shots were reformulated to include the BA.4 omicron and BA.5 subvariants of the virus in addition to its original strain.

The BA.4 and BA.5 is no longer available in the U.S.

According to , the CDC, as of Saturday, approximately 78% of the new U.S. Covid infections are caused by a subvariant of the omicron XBB.1.5.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch is an infectious disease specialist from the University of Toronto. He said that even though the boosters do not match the strain currently in circulation, they still should provide some protection.

In a CDC report released in January, it was found that updated Covid boosters cut the risk of infection by Covid from the XBB.1.5 variant by almost half. A second study published in the Lancet in this month by Israeli researchers found that Covid boosters reduce the risk of hospitalization for people aged 65 and older by 72 percent. However, neither study examined the effects of receiving a second dose of the bivalent booster.

Bogoch stated that “to date, regardless the variant circulating, the vaccines have continued to provide significant protection against severe manifestations such as hospitalizations or death from the virus.”

CDC reports that only 17% of Americans have received boosters.

The FDA advisory committee had raised concerns in the past about the use of yearly boosters Covid for adults and children. However, the committee appeared to support the use of multiple doses by the most vulnerable Americans such as older people and people with weak immune systems.

The FDA has said that they will convene an advisory group this summer to discuss the Covid booster program in the fall.

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