F.D.A. Authorizes Another Covid Booster Shot for People Over 65

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved an additional round of bivalent booster shots for adults over 65 and those with compromised immune systems. to ensure continued protection against Covid.

Bivalent shots target the Omicron subspecies of the coronavirus. Anyone over the age of 65 who hasn’t had a bivalent booster injection in at least four months may get another shot, according to the agency. An immunocompromised person can be boosted with a bivalent vaccine two months after the last vaccination. Those who have not been vaccinated can receive a single dose of a bivalent booster, the agency said.

“Covid-19 continues to be a very real risk for many people,” said Dr. Peter Marks, FDA’s vaccine director. “Available data continue to show that vaccines prevent the most serious consequences of Covid-19: severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Although virus levels have dropped as summer approaches, it is still associated with 1,300 deaths each week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC data also show Only 43% of people over the age of 65 received Omicron booster shots, and only 20% of those over the age of 18.

The spring booster approval was for the same formula released to protect people from the Omicron subspecies of the virus. (Tuesday’s agency also revoked the license for the original monovalent vaccine Americans received in the first mass vaccination campaign.)

Columbia University infectious disease expert Dr. Daniel Griffin says the decision to provide boosters to the most vulnerable this spring is justified for two reasons.

“One is the traditional reason: it protects people from serious illness,” he said. “But there is what I call a superpower. It gives you the added benefit of reducing your risk of getting infected for three or four months.”

CDC typically approves updated vaccine schedules after FDA approval.

The FDA said it plans to make a decision on the recommended vaccine schedule for people under 65 after an advisory meeting in June. He said he would make recommendations based on the strain of the virus.

The FDA said it plans to create an updated formulation of the vaccine for this fall “once a specific strain is selected for the Covid-19 vaccine.”

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