CDC Recommends Additional COVID Booster Shots for Immunocompromised, Those Over 50

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new recommendations for COVID-19 boosters, with Americans age 50 and older and those who are immunocompromised now eligible to receive additional booster doses four or more months after their last injection.

According to a press release, certain immunocompromised individuals and residents over the age of 50 who have received their COVID vaccine booster dose more than four months ago will now be eligible for another booster thanks to the new recommendations.

Any adults who received Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines and a booster shot will also be recommended to receive another booster at this time.

“Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster four months after their prior dose to increase their protection further,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “The CDC, in collaboration with FDA and our public health partners, will continue to evaluate the need for additional booster doses for all Americans.”

Until Tuesday, the FDA had cleared fourth doses only for those individuals 12 and older who had severely weakened immune systems. That group will now be recommended to receive a fifth shot, according to officials.

According to CDC officials, those individuals who had received a booster shot were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19, compared to those who were unvaccinated, during a surge in omicron cases that set new records for cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States.

Those individuals were also seven times less likely to be hospitalized.

As things stand now, the BA.2 subvariant of omicron is causing surges of cases in both Europe and in China, and federal officials have expressed concern that dramatic slowdowns in COVID vaccinations and boosters could lead to increases in cases in the United States.

According to the CDC, more than 35% of COVID cases being reported in Illinois are estimated to be related to the BA.2 subvariant, also known as “stealth omicron.”

The federal government is expected to evaluate whether to recommend fourth vaccine doses for all Americans next week, and could choose to issue those recommendations during the fall when more Americans are indoors as the weather cools.

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