The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) at the CDC voted unanimously to allow all fully vaccinated adults to receive a COVID-19 booster at least six months after receiving a primary series.
All 11 members of the panel also voted on Nov. 19 to recommend boosters for adults 50 and older.
Previously, government authorities had recommended boosters for people 65 and older, those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, and those at high risk of exposure in occupational or residential settings.
Several states aimed to sidestep the federal government’s booster requirements by allowing all fully adults who received an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine to obtain a booster, provided at least six months had elapsed before receiving the second vaccine dose.
Guidance is more precise for those who received the single-dose Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. All Janssen vaccine recipients may receive a second dose at least two months after receiving a dose of that vaccine.
ACIP recently recommended a primary vaccination series for children between the ages of 5 and 11.
The American Medical Association applauded the news. In a statement, President Dr. Gerald E. Harmon said that the AMA believes “the FDA’s authorization and the ACIP’s recommendations in support of booster doses for all adults will help provide continued protection against COVID-19 as we head into the winter months.”
While praising the move to open up booster eligibility, some physicians criticized the guidance for not encouraging all adults who received mRNA vaccines to receive boosters.
“I don’t get it, based on data from Israel and The Lancet, I don’t understand the ‘should/may’ split,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor University, over Twitter. Interpreting the federal guidance as implying that eligible adults 50 or older should obtain a booster while those 18 and older may obtain a dose “just confuses,” he added. “Everyone over 18 should get the booster. Otherwise, we won’t get back to normal.”
Filed Under: Infectious Disease