According to federal officials, the United States has authorized a new round of Covid boosters to provide additional protection for older Americans and individuals with weakened immune systems who remain vulnerable to the virus. Let’s see, how it is healthy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended on Wednesday that adults aged 65 and older and those with weakened immune systems receive another dose of the reformulated booster introduced last fall.
This recommendation comes after a thorough discussion by the CDC’s expert advisers and follows the authorization of the booster plan by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday. Eligible individuals will be able to receive booster doses immediately.
In addition to the booster authorization, federal health officials are phasing out the original vaccine formulas from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, revoking their authorizations in the United States.
Unvaccinated individuals will now only need a single dose of the reformulated, or “bivalent,” Covid shot to be considered fully vaccinated, instead of the initial series of two shots that were previously required. This change aims to simplify the vaccination process and ensure that more individuals can receive adequate protection against the virus.
Limited data on the reformulated vaccines suggest that the shots provide additional protection against severe disease and death from Covid in older adults, although the protection may wane rapidly in the weeks following vaccination.
Approximately 53 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States, accounting for about 16 percent of the population, and an estimated seven million have weakened immune systems due to illness or medication.
Despite the ongoing efforts to vaccinate the population, about 250 people in the United States still die from Covid-related causes each day, with the majority being over 70 or having impaired immune systems.
The median age of those hospitalized is 75, according to the CDC. However, only about 43 percent of adults aged 65 and older have received a bivalent booster shot, indicating the need for increased vaccination efforts among this vulnerable population.
Human life is important! You just need to take attention to yourself. The new guidelines for Covid boosters in the United States come after similar recommendations from Britain and Canada for older adults and immunocompromised individuals.
The CDC now advises that adults aged 65 and older may choose to receive another dose of the bivalent vaccine at least four months after their first shot, while those with weakened immune systems may do so two months after their previous bivalent dose, in consultation with their healthcare provider. However, the new recommendations do not currently include immunocompromised children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, which has raised concerns about their vulnerability to the virus.
For most Americans, the FDA plans to encourage annual Covid shots in the fall, similar to the approach taken with flu shots. The vaccine composition will be decided by health officials in June based on the circulating variant of the virus at that time.
The reformulated bivalent vaccine targets the original variant of the coronavirus as well as variants BA.4 and BA.5, which were dominant last summer, although newer variants such as Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 now account for the majority of cases in the United States. So far, the reformulated vaccines effectively prevent severe illness and hospitalization from these variants.