The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reduced the recommended time between receiving the second injection of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine and a booster injection to five months, instead of six.
The agency also made a similar decision for the Modena shooting earlier this month, as officials exert increased pressure to boost Americans in the wake of the Omicron variant-powered wave that hit the nation.
Omicron, which was first discovered by South African officials in late November, has shown it’s ability to evade the protection against infection from the Covid vaccines, but studies have shown that the extra booster dose can reduce some of that protection. to recover.
Health officials are now mobilizing resources for stronger pressure on these extra jabs, including expanding age-appropriateness for them and shortening the wait time between shots.
Americans who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot are now recommended to get their booster shot five months after the second dose, compared to the previous six-month recommendation (file photo)
The Pfizer vaccine (yellow) is not only the most widely used Covid vaccine in America, but also the most widely used booster vaccination in America to date
The Pfizer injection is the most commonly used injection in the United States, and both the initial two-dose vaccine and the booster dose have the widest age range.
It has been administered 306 million times to fully vaccinate 118 million people – more than one of the three shots available in the US
It has also been used in more than half of the booster doses administered in the U.S., and is used by 39.4 million of the 78.1 million Americans who received the additional shot.
The CDC decision puts the Pfizer vaccine on par with the Moderna injection. People who received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose shot before their original vaccination only need to wait two months before receiving their next shot, according to CDC guidelines.
Minors are most effective because of the change, as the Pfizer shot is the only one available for minors ages five to 17. The Pfizer booster is approved for U.S. children ages 12 and older.
Pfizer plans to have more boosters available in the future as well, with CEO Albert Bourla discussing the potential for a fourth injection in December.
The company is also working on a shot specifically tailored for the Omicron variant that could be available as early as March.
How these updated guidelines will affect the fourth exposures, or the Omicron-specific exposures, is not yet known.
However, the shortening or the distance between shots is of concern to those concerned about frequent vaccination.
The Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition (TAG-CO-VAC) as part of the World Health Organization released a report earlier this week calling on vaccine manufacturers to spend less time working on regular boosters and instead in the future. resources to invest -impenetrable stings.
With the short and medium term delivery of available vaccines, the need for equal access to vaccines in all countries to achieve global public health goals, programmatic considerations including vaccine demand, and the evolution of the virus, a vaccination strategy based on repeated booster Doses of the original vaccine composition are unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable,” TAG-CO-VAC wrote.
However, Pfizer, on the other hand, has been a proponent of regular booster shots, and it appears to be the company’s strategy for the future.
Earlier this week, Bourla said the pandemic could be contained over the next decade with regular, likely annual, Covid shots.
“We will live a perfectly normal life, with maybe only one injection once a year,” he told CNBC on Monday.
Israel and Denmark have made their most vulnerable populations eligible for fourth vaccinations in an effort to bolster protection.
The WHO has long been critical of the introduction of booster doses in high-income countries like the US and UK, as other countries struggle to vaccinate their populations.
For example, while the US has a stockpile of unused vaccines, only about 15 percent of the African continent’s population has received at least one dose of the shots.
In August, before Omicron’s discovery, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a two-month moratorium on booster shots, hoping that developing countries would instead donate additional doses to countries with limited access to the drug. shots.