CDC panel votes to recommend boosters for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson recipients


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An independent advisory committee to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met Thursday to give guidance on how adults eligible for boosters should receive them and what type of booster they should get. 

People who received either Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster at least six months after their second shot if they’re age 65 or older or living in a long-term care facility, if they’re an adult at risk of severe COVID-19 because of a medical condition, or if they’re an adult at risk because of their work or setting. The committee didn’t recommend a particular booster.

Every person age 18 and older who received Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine should also get any COVID-19 vaccine booster at least two months after their shot, the panel voted. The committee didn’t recommend a particular booster.

Before the recommendation becomes official CDC guidance, the committee’s vote will need to be approved by CDC director Rochelle Walensky. Once it’s accepted, there will be additional clinical considerations and guidance for individuals to decide if they need a booster, or which vaccine they should receive. 

On Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, and it also authorized the use of mixing COVID-19 shots as booster doses, meaning an eligible adult can get a different COVID-19 vaccine as a booster, as long as they qualify based on what shot they originally received. Some Pfizer recipients have been eligible for a booster since September. 

Committee members capitalized on the FDA’s authorization of mixing COVID-19 vaccines for boosters in their recommendation, mainly over concerns of recommending a second dose of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to some of its recipients, when the vaccine is linked to rare but more serious side effects than either Pfizer or Moderna.   

Some officials, including leaders from the World Health Organization, have criticized booster programs in US and other countries, arguing that extra COVID-19 shots shouldn’t be going into the arms of fully vaccinated healthy adults while as little as 2.9% of people in low-income countries have received just one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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