The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday approved the recommendation that all Americans ages 6 months and older receive the updated COVID booster amid rising cases and hospitalizations across the country.
This comes just a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized and approved the new shot.
The boosters made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were formulated to target variants currently in circulation, linked to XBB – an offshoot of the omicron variant.
The advisory committee made the recommendation, which was then approved by Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.
“Vaccination remains essential to public health and continued protection against serious outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Center for Disease Evaluation and Research. biological products from the FDA, in a press release.
“The public can be assured that these updated vaccines meet the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. We strongly encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated,” continues the press release.
Vaccines are expected to be available later this week as they are delivered to pharmacies and health care providers across the country, with a large supply likely starting next week.
Following the approval of the COVID booster, President Biden said “today marks another important milestone” and encouraged Americans to continue to stay informed about vaccinations.
“Today’s announcement also means we now have vaccines against the three main seasonal respiratory viruses: COVID-19, influenza and RSV. Vaccination against COVID-19 remains the most important protection to avoid hospitalization, long-term health complications and death. encourage all Americans to stay up to date on their vaccines,” Biden said.
The FDA currently says children ages 5 and older — regardless of prior vaccination — are eligible to receive an updated booster dose at least two months after the last COVID dose.
The updated boosters are each approved for people ages 12 and older and authorized for emergency use for children ages 6 months to 11 years.
For people ages 6 months to 4 years who have already been vaccinated, the agency says they can receive one or two booster doses. For unvaccinated people in this age group, the FDA says they are eligible for three doses.
Recent data indicated that the booster shot could provide additional protection against currently circulating variants and particularly protect against severe illness and death, especially for the elderly or immunocompromised.
Data released by Moderna showed its booster generated a nine-fold increase in antibodies against the new BA.2.86 subvariant in a laboratory study.
Previous results from the vaccine maker indicated that the new booster also provided additional protection against the EG.5 and FL.1.5.1 subvariants, which currently dominate in the United States and account for about 36% of new cases, according to the CDC data. .
“As the circulating primary strain continues to evolve, updated vaccines will be essential to protect the population this season,” Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said in a statement. “We appreciate the FDA’s timely review and encourage people who intend to get their flu vaccine to also receive their updated COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.”
Similarly, Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, praised the FDA’s decision and suggested that Americans could receive the vaccine at the same time as their annual flu shot.
“We anticipate this season’s vaccine will be available in the coming days, pending recommendations from public health authorities, so people can ask their doctor if they are receiving their COVID-19 vaccine in the same appointment than their annual flu vaccine, which will save them time now and help prevent serious illness later, when respiratory viruses are at their peak,” he said in a statement .