Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot? Latest guidelines from the CDC

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Up to 99 million Americans at the moment are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention final week signed off on sweeping new booster suggestions for recipients of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines. 

Those suggestions got here after the Food and Drug Administration up to date their emergency use authorizations to permit boosters for all three vaccines. The FDA can be permitting eligible Americans to mix-and-match their booster photographs, which implies you may select to obtain an extra dose from any of the three manufacturers which are obtainable. 

Here’s what we all know up to now: 

Johnson & Johnson recipients

The CDC now recommends a booster shot for all adults who had been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at the least two months in the past. 

That comes after the FDA concluded that even the highest estimates of the single-shot vaccine’s safety had been “consistently less” than the mRNA-based vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna. 

Data presented to the FDA’s exterior vaccine advisers by Johnson & Johnson says vaccine effectiveness towards symptomatic COVID-19 climbed to 94% in the U.S. after a booster shot. A bunch of the CDC’s vaccine advisers additionally concluded that the dangers of uncommon however severe unwanted effects following a second dose of the vaccine had been “unlikely to be greater” than after the first dose. 

However, a few of the company’s exterior vaccine advisers mentioned they might in all probability counsel their sufferers at greater danger of a uncommon blood clotting facet impact linked to the Janssen vaccine to go for a dose of Pfizer or Moderna as a substitute. 

Out of greater than 15 million recipients in the U.S. of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, the CDC and FDA have confirmed near 50 studies of the situation referred to as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome. Most had been girls beneath 50 years outdated. 

“I was personally not going to recommend a booster dose of the same product of Janssen, so I’m glad that we have included the mix-and-match,” Dr. Pablo Sanchez, considered one of the CDC’s vaccine advisers, mentioned final week at the committee’s meeting to debate booster photographs. 

Pfizer and Moderna recipients

Currently, all seniors 65 and older who acquired Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are beneficial to get a booster shot at the least six months after they had been first vaccinated. 

The CDC also expanded eligibility for adults ages 18 and up who had been vaccinated six months in the past in the event that they reside in “long-term care settings,” have “underlying medical conditions,” or are working or dwelling in “high-risk settings” like prisons, hospitals or homeless shelters. People at greater danger of exposure from their jobs —  together with academics and faculty assist employees, grocery clerks, postal employees, manufacturing unit employees, public transit crews, police and first responders, and others — are additionally eligible.  

Like with earlier booster shot suggestions for immunocompromised recipients, most pharmacies and suppliers are relying solely on individuals’s “self-attestation” and never requiring proof of eligibility for the extra photographs. 

FDA and CDC officers say they might additional broaden eligibility for booster photographs quickly as authorities collect extra information on the want and potential dangers.

“There is evidence to suggest potentially that lowering the age of those eligible for boosters may make sense in the future. Something we’re looking at closely,” Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s high vaccines official, instructed reporters final week. 

Those dangers embody myocarditis and pericarditis, uncommon coronary heart unwanted effects linked to the mRNA-based Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which have occurred largely in younger males. These circumstances have been largely gentle and usually resolve inside a day, based on federal well being officers, however typically require hospitalization.

Data introduced to the CDC’s exterior vaccine advisers last week prompt the danger of myocarditis may very well be “slightly increased” in adults beneath 30 after Moderna’s first two doses in comparison with Pfizer’s. 

However, some consultants hope Moderna’s choice to halve the dimension of its booster dose — 50 micrograms as a substitute of the 100 micrograms of its first two photographs — might reduce the danger of myocarditis after the booster. 

Data from Pfizer’s booster rollout in Israel, which was introduced to the FDA’s vaccine advisers earlier this month, additionally suggests the danger of myocarditis was decrease after the third dose whereas successfully curbing a surge in COVID-19 circumstances there.

“We may well get there. It’s a matter of having the data, and ensuring that when we make that decision, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks throughout the population,” Marks mentioned.

Mix-and-match boosters

The FDA’s choice to permit for mixing-and-matching booster photographs was primarily based partially on early data from trials led by the National Institutes of Health which recommend all combos of so-called “heterologous” boosting are secure and efficient at rising safety. 

Federal well being officers additionally pointed to conditions that made necessities to match booster shot manufacturers difficult, like when individuals don’t keep in mind which photographs they had been first vaccinated with, had a dangerous response to their preliminary vaccinations, or would not have entry to the identical model at their close by pharmacies. 

So far, the FDA’s scientists concluded there’s not sufficient information from the NIH’s trial to choose a “preferred strategy” for reinforcing. The research’s scientists had cautioned that their trial was not designed to “directly compare” the immune response triggered by completely different booster combos. 

“We will not articulate a preference. My understanding is that most people will have done largely well with the initial vaccine that they got and may express a preference, very much, for the original vaccine series they got, having done very well,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky instructed reporters last week. 

“There may be some people who might prefer another vaccine over the one that they received, and the current CDC recommendations now make that possible.”

Alexander Tin

CBS News reporter masking public well being and the pandemic.