US authorizes a second booster

March 30, 2022
CDC approves additional Covid-19 booster for certain individuals

… CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky in a statement on Tuesday.
  • The CDC updated eligibility for an additional Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 booster for those who are considered higher risk — AKA those who are 50 years and older, or for younger people with weakened immune systems. All eligible groups must have received their last shot at least four months ago.
  • The FDA previously allowed a fourth booster for those most at risk ages 12 and older, so Tuesday's decision allows those with weakened immune systems to receive a fifth dose.
  • The reasoning: U.S. officials received data from Israel, which opened a second booster option to those 60 and older during omicron. Preliminary data suggests the booster "can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in this population of older individuals,” according to Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA office responsible for vaccine efficacy and safety.
  • Something to consider: Only about 50% of Americans eligible for a third shot (their first booster) of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have gotten one.

Why It Matters: The omicron subvariant BA.2 is currently the dominant version of Covid-19, according to data from the CDC. While it is considered more contagious, it is not making people more sick than the earlier version of omicron. A new surge is not expected, but FDA officials are scheduled to meet next week to discuss the future of booster shots.

US opens second COVID boosters to 50 and up, others at risk (Associated Press)

CDC statement recommending booster

CDC recommends fourth Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccine doses for people age 50 and older (CNBC)

More contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant now dominant in the U.S., CDC says (CNBC)

by Jenna Lee,