CDC vaccine advisors vote to recommend Covid-19 boosters for all adults
Members of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee also voted on a second question, to strengthen the recommendation for boosters for people 50 and older.
Now it’s up to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walinsky to sign off on the recommendation, which will simplify previous and complex guidelines for boosters.
Previously, boosters were authorized for use by anyone 65 years of age or older who had been vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago and for adults at high risk of developing or becoming seriously ill. Friday’s vote simplifies the guidance, making it clear that every adult should or may receive a booster dose six months after completing the first two doses.
Recent real-world studies have indicated that immunity to Covid-19 vaccines begins to wane and that protection against mild and asymptomatic illnesses, in particular, may decline. Studies have shown that booster doses restore that immunity.
ACIP members heard safety data from the CDC, Pfizer, and Moderna that showed the reinforcers did not cause worrisome adverse events. The most common reactions are pain at the injection site, headache, and fatigue.
Dr Sarah Oliver of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at the meeting that the vote comes just in time for people to get reinforcements. Even if the extra immunity the boosters provide doesn’t last long, she said, they can help.
“Even temporary protections may affect the benefit-risk balance, especially as we approach winter break with increased travel and holiday gatherings,” Oliver said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN this week that recent data from Israel shows that among people age 60 and older, those who received a booster dose were less likely to develop serious illness than people who were given a booster dose. vaccinate them. who did not receive a booster dose. Rates of critical illness remained higher among those who were not vaccinated.
The majority of adults were already eligible to receive reinforcements, and several states had already moved to open boosters to all adults.
“Everyone is eligible”
Expanding booster eligibility to include all adults in the United States may not change the logistics of getting shots in the gun.
The booster vaccine has already been made available in many places. Adrian Casalotti, president of government and public affairs for the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told CNN that no “additional steps” on the part of the administration to release the boost should occur.
“Looking at the nationality, we have enough vaccine,” Casalotti told CNN. “There are a lot of places that have appointments. Obviously, that varies a little bit depending on where you live geographically because there is more demand in some areas than others.”
“But nonetheless, I think the key setup is on the communication side,” Casalotti added. “The communication to local health care providers and public health departments is that they don’t have to worry now about eligibility if someone asks if they need to get a boost. That’s the information – everyone qualifies after six months.”
About 32 million people in the United States — about 17% of those fully vaccinated — have received a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data.
About 18 million older adults have received a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data, which accounts for more than half of all the booster doses given and increases the immune response of more than a third of older adults who are fully vaccinated.
The future of reinforcements
The average number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States is now 94,943 per day, according to Johns Hopkins University — a 31% increase from last week and a return to levels last seen more than a month ago. Midwestern states account for more than a third (38%) of new cases.
There is concern that winter weather driving people indoors and holiday gatherings may lead to more cases.
“We definitely want people to be as well protected as they can go out of season,” said Dr. Marcy Drees, chief infection prevention officer and epidemiologist at Delaware-based ChristianaCare.
Drees is the Health Care Epidemiology Society of America and is the liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccine Advisory Committee.
“I think we are now at a point where for a lot of people who were vaccinated in the last winter and spring, now is the time when their protection is diminished,” she said.
Once people have received their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, it is not clear when – if any – they might need another dose of the vaccine.
“That’s definitely the million dollar question,” Drees said. “We know that boosters boost people’s immunity back to the 90% to 95% range in the short term. We don’t know how long that will last.”
“In some ways, we’re forging a new path — and a lot of it is driven by the possibility of getting enough immunity in the population so that we can really stop transmission,” Drees said. “We know that boosters are not going to eliminate the epidemic. They will help people and prevent them from getting sick, but we still need to really push to give people the first and second doses as well.”
CNN’s Deidre MacPhillips contributed to this report.