Citing omicron variant, CDC says all adults should get COVID-19 booster
The CDC has strengthened its recommendation for COVID-19 booster shots, saying all adults should get one, when eligible.
“The recent emergence of the omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said in a statement. “Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant.”
President Joe Biden said Monday that his administration was already working with vaccine manufacturers “to develop contingency plans” should variant-specific vaccines be needed to address the emergence of omicron, and Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla, DVM, PhD, indicated Tuesday that a version of its COVID-19 vaccine targeting the omicron variant could be ready in around 100 days.
“Still,” Bourla tweeted, “we believe that the best hedge against spready of the omicron variant and any new variant that may emerge is getting all eligible people fully vaccinated and boosted, as recommended.”
The CDC said anyone aged 18 years or older should get a booster either 6 months after receiving their initial two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial Johnson & Johnson shot.
Biden simplified the recommendation during his press briefing on Monday.
“If you’re 18 years or over and got fully vaccinated before June the 1st, go get the booster shot today,” he said. “They’re free, and they’re available at 80,000 locations coast to coast. A fully vaccinated boosted person is the most protected against COVID.”
The CDC’s expanded recommendation came just 10 days after the its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that all adults may receive a booster dose, and that all adults aged 50 years and older should receive one.
Walensky “strongly” encouraged the 47 million unvaccinated American adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to get the children and teens in their families vaccinated as well.
“I also want to encourage people to get a COVID-19 test if they are sick,” she said. “Increased testing will help us identify omicron quickly.”