The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a second COVID-19 booster of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for people over 50 years old four months after their first booster. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday signed off on the approval from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers that recommended an updated coronavirus vaccine booster this fall.
The CDC recommended boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for those who are 12 years old and older and from Moderna for those who are 18 and older. These are known as “bivalent” vaccines because they are formulated to protect against the original coronavirus strain as well as the Omicron variant, which is highly contagious.
“Updated COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition, helping to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination by targeting variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading,” the CDC said in its announcement.
The pandemic is ongoing, and more than 1 million Americans have died from the coronavirus and another 95 million have been infected.
CDC guidance states that those who have been infected with COVID-19, can get a booster following recovery from symptoms, but can defer a vaccine booster up to three months following infection.
If someone has received an original two-shot vaccine from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, they can wait five months before getting their first booster shot.
For the second booster shot, the CDC recommends that those who are immunocompromised and people over the age of 50 who got their first booster, wait at least four months before getting another booster.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement that the updated COVID-19 boosters are “formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant.”
“They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants,” she said. “This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion.”
She encouraged those who are eligible to get the COVID-19 booster to do so to prepare for the fall.
The CDC also recommends that those who are getting the Jynneos vaccine (for monkeypox) space out that vaccine with their COVID-19 booster.
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