Federal regulators have decided to authorise a second omicron-specific coronavirus vaccine booster shot for people who are at least 65 or have weak immune systems in an effort to provide additional protection to high-risk individuals, according to several officials familiar with the plan.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce the step in the next few weeks, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to move quickly to endorse it, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to publicly discuss internal discussions. Eligible individuals will be able to receive the dose as long as it has been at least four months since their first shot of what’s known as the bivalent booster, which targets omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 as well as the original novel coronavirus. The expectation is that consumers will consult with their health-care providers about whether to get the extra booster, the officials said.
John P. Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, said an extra booster could benefit people who are in poor health or have an impaired immune system. But he was skeptical everyone older than 65 needs it. Boosters lead to “a short-term boost against mild infection but protection against severe disease is still pretty robust” because of previous shots, he said.
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Source: Washington Post, 3 April 2023