CDC says all adults should get COVID-19 booster vaccine – Community News
Covid-19

CDC says all adults should get COVID-19 booster vaccine

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday strengthened their recommendations about who should get boosters.

In a statement, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky that all vaccinated adults should receive a booster as long as they have received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna injection at least six months ago or if they have received their Johnson & Johnson injection for at least two months. past.

“The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further highlights the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” Walensky said. “Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant.”

The CDC’s previous guidelines, last updated Nov. 19, recommended booster shots for adults age 50 and older, ensuring that all younger, healthier adults ages 18 to 49 were eligible for booster shots, but stopped recommending it. The agency’s latest recommendations — to encourage boosters for all adults — are identical to those made a week and a half ago by the California Department of Public Health.

The CDC’s earlier, complicated stance has been criticized by some experts for still being too confusing. dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, called the CDC’s earlier guidelines issued in mid-November a “big mistake.”

While many people have spoken of the Delta variant as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” it’s also important to realize that there are now also vaccinated people whose immunity has waned, Topol wrote with Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research. and policy, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post.

“Several studies have shown that fully vaccinated people can spread the Delta variant. This is more likely when the vaccine-induced immune response has faded,” Topol and Osterholm wrote. “Because booster shots greatly reduce symptomatic infections, they may help contain the increased spread we are experiencing.”

The CDC’s move came three days after the World Health Organization identified a new variant in southern Africa as a “variant of concern,” dubbed Omicron.

US infectious disease experts have expressed concern about Omicron as its appearance in South Africa has been accompanied by a large increase in coronavirus cases, after a time of low infection levels, suggesting it is highly transmissible. However, it is not clear whether Omicron will overtake Delta as the most transmissible strain of the coronavirus.

It will probably take two weeks before we know whether the vaccines are less effective against the Omicron variant. Lab tests are underway. Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser for the pandemic, “continues to believe that existing vaccines are likely to provide some degree of protection against severe cases of COVID,” the White House said in a statement.

“I don’t think there’s a possibility that this” [Omicron variant] completely evade any protection by a vaccine. It might reduce it a little bit, but that’s why you boost,” Fauci said in an interview on ABC.

Fauci reiterated that booster injections for fully vaccinated individuals provide the strongest protection available against COVID-19 and that it is important that anyone who has not been vaccinated — including children 5 years and older — gets their injections.

At a briefing Monday, Biden characterized Omicron as “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.”

“The best protection against this new variant — or any of the variants out there, the ones we’ve already dealt with — is to get fully vaccinated and get a booster shot,” he told reporters.

Biden said he would release a detailed strategy later this week detailing the winter battle plan against COVID-19 — “not with shutdowns and lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more.”

“We have made progress in the face of COVID-19. We have made progress in the face of the Delta variant, and we are now also moving forward in the light of the Omicron variant,” the president said.

According to the California Department of Public Health, Omicron has “many mutations in key parts of the virus that affect infectivity and the immune system’s ability to protect against infection. Some of the mutations are of concern to scientists because they are very different from other variants discovered before, and some are similar.”

“We do not know at this time whether this new variant causes more severe COVID-19 disease than other variants or how it may affect response to treatment,” state health officials wrote.

Biden said Monday that his administration is already working with drug companies to formulate updated vaccines as needed. However, he stressed that “we do not yet believe additional measures will be necessary”, adding that he has no plans for new restrictions on travel or businesses.

Officials from Pfizer and Moderna told CNBC on Monday that vaccine versions specifically designed to deal with Omicron are underway. Such a vaccine would take a few months to develop, but it is not certain that it will be necessary.

New versions of COVID-19 vaccines were developed specifically for the Beta and Delta variants, but were never released publicly because the initial vaccine formulations retained their effectiveness against those variants.

The potential threat from Omicron further underscores the importance of both vaccinating as many people as possible and making sure adults get their booster dose as soon as they qualify, Los Angeles County health officials said.

“As transfers across the country remain significant, this extra boost makes a difference,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, said in a statement.

In LA County, 98% of skilled nursing facilities administered booster doses to residents and staff members between mid-October and mid-November. During that period, there was a 63% drop in new coronavirus cases in skilled nursing facilities; Countywide, new cases dropped just 6% during that time.

“It’s clear that boosters, along with a very high two-dose vaccination coverage among staff and residents, are making a difference,” Ferrer said.

In LA County skilled nursing facilities, 96% of staff and 90% of residents are fully vaccinated. All skilled nursing staff had to be fully vaccinated by the end of September by order of the state health officer.