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CDC Recommends mRNA Boosters

The federal agency's recommendation for both the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech updated bivalent vaccines allows people to get the booster dose this fall.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, has endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.

“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,” Walensky said in a statement. “This recommendation followed a comprehensive scientific evaluation and robust scientific discussion. If you are eligible, there is no bad time to get your COVID-19 booster and I strongly encourage you to receive it.”

The ACIP voted yesterday 13 to 1 in favor of recommending the booster vaccines. This will now afford the general public in these age categories the ability to get a booster dose. Both vaccine boosters are indicated for people who it has been at least two months since their completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Both the vaccines have been updated for protection against both the original wild strain and the Omicron variant.

This comes on the heels of the FDA’s authorization earlier this week. The FDA did not meet but rather made the decision without an official committee meeting to vote on the boosters.

“We are confident in the evidence supporting these authorizations,” Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in the FDA statement this week. “The public can be assured that a great deal of care has been taken by the FDA to ensure that these bivalent COVID-19 vaccines meet our rigorous safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality standards for emergency use authorization.”

Public health officials have been working to make the boosters available as the northern hemisphere begins to go into the influenza and respiratory illness season. “As we head into fall and begin to spend more time indoors, we strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to consider receiving a booster dose with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine to provide better protection against currently circulating variants,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, MD, said in a statement earlier this week.

All the mRNA vaccine manufacturers have ramped up production to allow for the demand for the boosters, and the expectation is that they will be available as soon as next week.