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CDC Recommends Spring Booster Shot for People 65 and Older to Combat COVID-19 Variants

People at highest risk for the most serious complications of COVID-19, primarily those age 65 and older, should receive a booster shot this spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The CDC recommendation came hours after the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in favor of the additional dose.

Another round of vaccine administered in the coming months would offer the best possible protection, advisers said, ahead of another likely surge in illnesses this summer.

Over the past four years, the trend has been a wave of Covid in both winter and summer, with cases peaking in January and August, respectively, according to the CDC.

For that reason, CDC advisers said the approach to Covid vaccination remains different from the strategy used for the flu, which typically only peaks during the winter.

“I hope we’re moving in the direction of becoming more flu-like where there’s a really clear season, but I don’t think we’re there yet,” Megan Wallace, a CDC epidemiologist, said during a Wednesday meeting of the Committee. of prevention.


The additional dose should be administered at least four months after a previous dose for healthy older adults, or at least three months after a Covid infection. People with compromised immune systems may need additional injections.

“This gives us a great opportunity to remind people about the importance of vaccination,” said Marvia Jones, director of the Kansas City Health Department in Missouri, who did not participate in Wednesday’s ACIP meeting. “We are certainly concerned about the vulnerability of people in that age group when it comes to Covid-19.”

The spring booster will be the same shot that was approved last fall, which was formulated to target the XBB.1.5 subvariant. The vaccine is effective against the JN.1 subvariant, which currently causes the vast majority (more than 96%) of new Covid infections in the United States.

On Wednesday, the advisory committee presented new data showing that the shot reduced the odds of being hospitalized with Covid in healthy people aged 65 and older by up to 54%.

The CDC will release additional details about that investigation on Thursday.

Covid hospitalizations peaked in early January, with 35,000 hospitalizations per week. By February 7, Covid hospitalizations had dropped to around 20,000 per week.

Over the past year, weekly Covid hospital admissions never fell below 6,000, the CDC said. The vast majority have been among older adults, 65 years of age or older.

The number of deaths from Covid is also decreasing. Still, at the lowest point last summer, the CDC reported about 500 Covid deaths a week.

Scientists have found clear differences in the blood of those who recover from Covid and those who do not.

2024-02-29 08:19:41
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