CDC director acknowledges ‘confusion’ over COVID-19 boosters


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The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says she believes there is now some confusion in the United States about who should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster.


For starters, the recently approved booster is intended for people who were vaccinated with shots originally made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech.

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Last week, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky, in line with most of the CDC advisories’ recommendations, favors giving boosters six months after the last dose of Pfizer for certain groups of people.

related: FDA approves Pfizer booster for those 65 and older, others at higher risk

This includes people aged 65 and above, residents of nursing homes and people aged 50 to 64 suffering from chronic health problems such as diabetes. People 18 years of age and older with health problems can decide for themselves whether they need a booster.

But Valensky also dismissed the advisers’ objections, saying people at increased risk of infection because of their jobs or their living conditions may now qualify for boosters. This includes health care workers, teachers and people in prisons or homeless shelters.

“I recognize that illusion right now,” Valensky told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“We are evaluating this science in real time,” she said. L “We’re meeting now every several weeks to evaluate the science. The science may very well show that the rest of the population needs a boost and we’ll provide the guidance we need to inform them as soon as we have them.” There will be science.”

People who have received vaccines from Moderna or Johnson & Johnson are waiting to hear when they may be eligible for a booster.

related: FDA Advisory Panel OKs Pfizer COVID-19 Boosters for 65 and Older, Votes No for Younger

Scientists inside and outside the government have recently been divided over who needs boosters and who should get them, and the World Health Organization has strongly objected to third-round shots by rich countries when poorer countries have There isn’t enough vaccine for your first. .

While research shows that immunity levels are reduced in people who have been vaccinated over time and boosters can reverse this, the Pfizer vaccine is still highly protective against serious illness and death, even Even between that delta version.

Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said he favors a third dose for adults over the age of 60 or 65, but in supporting it for anyone under the age of 16. I’m really in trouble”.

related: COVID-19 booster vaccine: FDA approves third shot for immunocompromised

While an additional shot will probably reduce cases to mild or no symptoms at least temporarily, “the question becomes what effect this will have on the arc of the epidemic, which may not be all that much,” Offit said. said.

President Joe Biden’s top health advisers, including the heads of the FDA and CDC, first announced plans for widespread booster shots in mid-August, setting the week of September 20 as an all-but-sure start date. But that was before FDA staff scientists had completed their assessment of the data.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.

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