CDC Panel Gives Support to New COVID-19 Booster Shots

New booster targets the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant, which is similar to the dominant variant now circulating
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WEDNESDAY, Sept. 13, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Following an approval granted Monday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an expert panel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday also signed off on new COVID-19 boosters for Americans.

"We have more tools than ever to prevent the worst outcomes from COVID-19," CDC Director Mandy Cohen, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement. "CDC is now recommending updated COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months and older to better protect you and your loved ones."

The COVID-19 shots from Pfizer and Moderna will join the flu shot and newly approved RSV shots as part of a three-pronged public health strategy to tame the spread of all three viruses this coming winter. The updated COVID-19 vaccines are each fully approved for those aged 12 years and older and are authorized under emergency use for individuals 6 months through 11 years of age.

"Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death," Peter Marks, M.D., director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. "The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency's rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated."

In its approval, the FDA recommended the following eligibilities for Americans: Those aged 5 years and older, regardless of previous vaccination, can receive a single dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine at least two months since the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine; individuals aged 6 months through 4 years who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can receive one or two doses of an updated COVID-19 vaccine (depending on the previous COVID-19 vaccine received); and unvaccinated individuals 6 months through 4 years can receive three doses of the updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or two doses of the updated Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

The boosters target the XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant. That is no longer the dominant variant circulating, but those that are spreading widely are closely related, and health experts say this booster will still offer some protection.

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