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CDC approves COVID boosters for almost all adults and mixes vaccines

CDC approves COVID boosters for almost all adults and mixes vaccines

  • October 22, 2021

Oct. 21, 2021 – Millions of American adults are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster after the CDC approved Thursday, which also kicked off vaccine mixing for the first time.

A panel of experts advising the CDC on Thursday weighed who should get booster vaccines after their Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Both recommendations were unanimous, 15-0.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) says anyone over 18 who is at least 2 months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot, a recommendation that affects an estimated 13 million Americans. This booster can be any of the COVID-19 vaccines available.

CDC Director Rochelle Walneksy, MD, later finally approved the panel’s recommendations to make boosters immediately available.

Those who are eligible for a booster at least 6 months after their last Moderna shot are the same groups that can get a Pfizer booster. They are:

  • Anyone over 65.
  • Individuals over the age of 18 with an underlying health condition that puts them at serious risk of COVID-19.
  • People over the age of 18 who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 infection because they live or work in a risky environment.

According to the CDC, there are an estimated 47 million people who have received Pfizer vaccines and 39 million people who have received Moderna who are now eligible for a booster dose.

Prior to the vote, some committee members expressed discomfort with the general recommendation of boosters, stressing that there was very little evidence that boosters were needed in people under the age of 50 for the vaccines.

Ultimately, however, they felt it was more important to be lenient about approving boosters so that individuals and their doctors could make their own decisions.

“I can’t say I’m comfortable with the fact that everyone under 50 – an otherwise healthy person – currently needs a booster dose of Moderna or Pfizer,” said ACIP member Sarah Long, MD, professor of pediatrics at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

During the deliberations, she said she hoped the committee could try to mitigate the potential harm by putting some sort of age limit on the otherwise concerned well.

“We don’t usually have the vaccines because we’re worried. We are giving it because we have a need that is worth the risk and weighed down by the severity of the disease, ”Long said.

Findings so far show that all vaccines approved in the United States continue to protect people well from severe COVID-19 courses, including hospitalization and death. But breakthrough infections are on the rise, especially in people who originally received the Johnson and Johnson one-dose vaccine.

On Thursday, Pfizer released data from a study of more than 10,000 fully vaccinated people. Half were randomized to receive a booster dose of their Cominarty vaccine and the other half were given a placebo. Over the next 2.5 months there were 5 COVID-19 cases in the reinforced group and 109 in the group that received a placebo. The data was published in a press release and has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it is the first to demonstrate the clinical effectiveness of boosters in preventing COVID-19 infections.

Data recently considered by the FDA and CDC for booster doses of the COVID-19 came from studies that were mostly shorter and smaller. These studies looked at immunity biomarkers such as the level of antibodies in a person’s blood and the percentage of study participants who saw an increase in these antibodies. The studies showed that while boosters restore high levels of antibodies, they failed to show that these antibodies prevented COVID-19. These studies were also not designed to address less common safety issues. After another dose of the shots.

Ultimately, however, ACIP felt it was more important to be lenient about allowing booster programs so that individuals and their doctors can make their own decisions.

“The FDA decision and the ACIP recommendations reflect the real world in my opinion. The public will do what it feels obliged to do. This adds at least a scientific review of the data currently available, ”said Jay Varkey, MD, an infectious disease physician and associate professor at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the ACIP deliberations.

Varkey said he would recommend anyone under 65 who doesn’t have any underlying medical conditions like diabetes or obesity to speak to their doctor about their individual benefits and risks before getting a booster shot.


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