People ages 65 and older and those with a weak immune system may choose to get a second COVID-19 booster shot starting later this spring, according to a new report.
The announcement from the FDA is expected in the next few weeks, The Washington Post reported.
Second boosters will be allowed beginning 4 months after someone received an initial dose of the latest version of COVID protection called the bivalent booster. The bivalent booster targets the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, plus the original coronavirus.
Canada and Britain have approved springtime boosters for older people and those who are immunocompromised.
U.S. experts have differed on the value of getting more boosters, with many of those who are not in favor pointing to a lack of evidence, The New York Times reported. Studies have shown that boosters can protect you from severe disease, but studies also have shown that effectiveness declines after several months. There is evidence that the response to vaccines in older people and those with immune system problems is not as powerful, compared to younger or healthier people.
Among people ages 65 and older, 42% have received a dose of the bivalent booster, which became available in September. That’s just over 23 million people, and it’s unclear how many of them would opt for a second booster, which health officials say should be a decision made with guidance from a medical professional.
While COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to trend downward, the virus remains dangerous and deadly, particularly for older people. Nearly 1,600 people died from COVID-19 last week and 32,388 people are hospitalized with the illness, according to the CDC.
The Washington Post: “FDA to okay second omicron-targeting booster for some, officials say.”
CBC: “COVID-19 booster shots recommended for high-risk Canadians starting this spring.”
United Kingdom Health Security Agency: “Most vulnerable to be offered spring COVID-19 booster.”
The New York Times: “Should You Get Another Covid Booster?”
CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States,” “Trends in Number of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in the US Reported to CDC, by State/Territory.”
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