U.S. Allows COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters To All Adults

Story Highlights
  • U.S. adults are eligible for Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccine booster.
  • CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on an independent panel’s recommendation
  • More than 195 million people are fully vaccinated in the U.S.

United States: All adults in the U.S. are now eligible to receive Pfizer’s and Moderna’s Covid vaccine boosters, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized the shots for the general public Friday. The move allows an extra dose of protection for tens of millions of fully vaccinated Americans as cases climb and public officials worry the nation could face another surge during the winter. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the booster shots hours after the agency’s independent panel of vaccine scientists unanimously endorsed opening up eligibility to everyone 18 and older at least six months after they received their second dose.

While more than 195 million people are fully vaccinated in the U.S., Covid cases are rising in some areas as the effectiveness of the vaccines falls over time, the CDC’s Dr Sara Oliver told the panel. “Overall protection remains high for severe disease and hospitalization and waning [effectiveness] appears to be less pronounced for the Moderna vaccine compared to Pfizer,” Oliver said. However, she said evidence suggests there is a higher risk for a rare heart condition called myocarditis following Moderna’s shots compared with Pfizer.

Several other countries have discouraged the use of the Moderna vaccine in young people because of that concern, citing data suggesting the rare side effect may occur slightly more with that vaccine than its competitor. Pfizer told CDC’s advisers that in a booster study of 10,000 people as young as 16, there were no more serious side effects from a third vaccine dose than earlier ones. That study found a booster restored protection against symptomatic infections to about 95% even while the extra-contagious delta variant was surging. There’s also growing concerned that rich countries are offering widespread boosters when poor countries haven’t been able to vaccinate more than a small fraction of their populations.

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