The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized a second COVID-19 booster for adults age 50 and older, as well as a second booster for people 12 and up who are immunocompromised.
Adults who are eligible can receive either Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine at least four months after their first booster shot. This includes adults who received Johnson & Johnson’s as their initial COVID-19 vaccine or as a booster shot.
Teens or kids as young as age 12 who are immunocompromised are authorized to receive a second booster shot of Pfizer’s vaccine at least four months after their first booster. For some people who are immunocompromised, this means they’ll be able to get a fifth shot.
Typically, a recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention follows FDA authorization of a vaccine or booster, and the CDC is expected to sign off on second boosters for people age 50 and up before.
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a press release. “Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals.”
The news comes asmakes up over half of COVID-19 cases in the US, according to CDC data. While data from other countries suggests BA.2 does not cause more severe disease than original omicron, it is more contagious and raises concerns about another COVID-19 surge. While health officials have debated the necessity of COVID-19 booster shots, many argue that as immunity wanes, boosters prevent severe disease and death in people most vulnerable to COVID-19.
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