MONDAY, March 28, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Despite not knowing how long another jab might provide protection, the Biden administration plans to offer a second COVID-19 booster shot to Americans 50 and older.
Optional second boosters of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines could be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as soon as this week, people familiar with the plan say, and that would be followed by advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The New York Times reported.
While a second booster for older adults will be offered, federal health officials will not go so far as to recommend it, and no meetings of the advisory committees of either the FDA or the CDC are planned ahead of the decision on second boosters.
Some federal health officials strongly support second boosters, while others are skeptical, but they came to the decision to offer the shots in case infections surge again before the fall, The Times reported. Officials also said that people of all ages, including anyone who gets a booster this spring, should get another shot in the fall.
If a major wave of COVID-19 surfaces in the next few months, a second booster dose for older Americans could save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of hospitalizations. But if there is no significant surge until the fall, second boosters could waste vaccine doses, increase vaccine fatigue, and raise questions about the federal government’s strategy, according to The Times.
Another surge of COVID-19 cases in Europe is being driven by the highly contagious omicron subvariant BA.2. It is now responsible for just over a third of cases in the United States, but federal health officials have said they do not expect it to fuel a large jump in cases.
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