CDC Authorizes COVID-19 Booster Shots

Moderna Vaccine
Source: Reuters

On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised individuals.

The spread of the delta variant has led to an increase in breakthrough infections across the world. The rise in cases combined with the newly released data on the variant has raised concerns regarding vaccine efficacy. Additionally, several countries have begun contemplating administering vaccine booster shots to protect against hospitalizations and deaths. Last week, Israel reported that it was giving out booster shots to the elderly population in the country. Now, the CDC has authorized COVID-19 booster shots for use in immunocompromised people in the U.S.

This official CDC recommendation — which follows FDA’s decision to amend the emergency use authorizations of the vaccines — is an important step in ensuring everyone, including those most vulnerable to COVID-19, can get as much protection as possible from COVID-19 vaccination.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC

Earlier, on Thursday, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its emergency use authorizations for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. This allows certain immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant patients, to receive an additional dose of the vaccines. The CDC’s recommendation follow’s FDA’s emergency use approval, but it is for all immunocompromised individuals.

The CDC’s decision comes just days after the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots.

No Doctor’s Note Required

Around 3% of U.S adults are immunocompromised. As the vaccine efficacy is lower in such individuals, they are more likely to develop breakthrough infections. Moreover, the risk of hospitalizations and severe infection is also higher in this group. CDC’s recommendation will likely provide a solution for those with a weakened immune system.

But the intent of this is to limit this to individuals for which, are considered under the EUA to be moderate or severe and so, for example, would not include long-term care facility residents or persons with diabetes, persons with heart disease. Those types of chronic medical conditions are not the intent here.

Dr. Amanda Cohn, CDC

The current recommendation does not require doctors to sign off on a note or write a prescription allowing people to receive an additional dose. Instead, one must attest to their immunosuppression for the vaccine. However, this will likely lead to even healthy individuals getting a third dose. According to the health regulators, other fully vaccinated individuals do not require a booster shot at the moment.

Source: CDC


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