Americans Gear Up to Receive COVID-19 Boosters

The FDA and CDC have both issued their respective recommendations for the rollout of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

Actions taken by the CDC and FDA this week are paving the way for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine boosters for eligible Americans.

The CDC recommended Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots for certain populations, and the FDA has expanded its emergency use authorization (EUA) for COVID-19 vaccines to include a single booster dose.1,2

Both steps are important to protect the American public and stay ahead of the virus and its variants. The CDC endorsed the following groups as eligible for their booster shots as early as 6 months following their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who live or work in high-risk settings, including first responders, education staff, and food and agricultural workers

The FDA’s updated EUA now allows for a single dose booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least 6 months following the initial series in individuals 18 to 64 years with “frequent institutional or occupations exposure to SARS-CoV-2,” according to the agency’s news release published on Wednesday. Moderna booster shots can also be administered 6 months after a patient’s initial vaccination in those 65 years and older; those between 18 and 64 years at high risk of severe COVID-19; and those between 18 and 64 years with frequent exposure to the virus. A single dose booster of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine can be administered as soon as 2 months after the first single dose regimen.

Moreover, the EUA stipulates that booster shots do not have to “match;” that is, individuals can choose any of the 3 vaccines—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson—as their booster vaccine.

As these additional doses become available, the CDC highlighted the critical importance for those who remain unvaccinated to start the process of protecting themselves against the virus and its variants. “More than 65 million Americans remain unvaccinated, leaving themselves—and their children, families, loved ones, and communities—vulnerable,” the CDC news release stated.

“The evidence shows that all 3 COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe—as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, PhD, MPH. “And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant.”

References

  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Additional Actions on the Use of a Booster Dose for COVID-19 Vaccines. News Release. FDA; October 20, 2021. Accessed October 21, 2021. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-takes-additional-actions-use-booster-dose-covid-19-vaccines.
  2. CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots. News Release. CDC; October 21, 2021. Accessed October 22, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/p1021-covid-booster.html.