CDC recommends additional COVID-19 booster shot for certain people

WASHINGTON — Both the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday greenlit a second round of COVID-19 booster shots for people 50 and older.

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Update 4:32 p.m. EDT March 29: The CDC signed off late Monday afternoon on the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization earlier in the day of a second COVID-19 booster shot for certain individuals.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a prepared statement that the expanded eligibility targets those people at a higher risk of “severe outcomes” from the virus.

“Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster four months after their prior dose to increase their protection further. This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time,” Walensky stated.

In addition, the CDC recommended that individuals who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, meaning either the Pfizer or Moderna varieties.

Original report: The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a second COVID-19 booster for people 50 years and older.

The authorization applies to both the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the one produced by Moderna, The Associated Press reported.

The Washington Post had reported that the FDA was planning on authorizing the additional booster, so the approval was not unexpected.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is expected to sign off on the FDA decision, according to the unnamed officials.

A second COVID-19 booster shot is already approved for people 12 years and older who have compromised immune systems, the AP reported.

The second booster for anyone over the age of 50 was approved due to concerns about the spread of the omicron BA.2 subvariant, the Post reported.

The additional booster can be given after at least four months after the previous shot, regardless of a person’s health status, the AP reported.

>>Related: Total US COVID-19 cases near 80 million

Currently, the number of COVID-19 cases have dropped after a surge over the winter but the latest subvariant is causing concern in Europe and is spreading in the U.S. as vaccination rates have slowed down. About two-thirds of Americans are considered fully vaccinated. But about half of those eligible for a booster have not gotten one, the AP reported.