CDC recommends updated COVID boosters

The Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, endorsed on Thursday the updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

The updated boosters “add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition.” The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is cleared for people 12 years and older, and the Moderna vaccine is cleared for people 18 years and older.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) “voted 13 to 1 to recommend updated mRNA boosters for Americans this fall,” CNN reported.

“The updated COVID-19 boosters are formulated to better protect against the most recently circulating COVID-19 variant. They can help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination and were designed to provide broader protection against newer variants,” Dr. Walensky noted.

As POLITICO pointed out, the CDC’s decision means booster shots “could begin going into arms as soon as this weekend,” setting the stage for the fall booster campaign the Biden administration hopes will protect people from expected fall and winter surges of COVID-19.

However, POLITICO also quoted some ACIP members who raised concerns about the recommendations “when there’s so little data on the incremental benefits of boosting younger age groups compared to the risks of adverse events such as myocarditis.”

“I really don’t want to set a precedent of recommending a vaccine that we don’t have clinical data on,” said Pablo Sanchez, professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University, who voted against the recommendations.

The CDC’s recommendation comes one day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greenlit the updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines  for “use as a single booster dose at least two months following primary or booster vaccination,” as Bio.News reported on Wednesday.

As per the release, CDC also expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups in the coming weeks, “when data are available, and FDA authorizes these other types of COVID-19 boosters.”

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