FDA and CDC Approve Second Booster Shot
The FDA wants people over the age of 50 to get a second booster shot against COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the announcement Thursday and said the authorized dose should be either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine.
The dose would be given only if has been at least four months since the first Booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later also approved the doses, their statement allowing "certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago to be eligible for another mRNA booster to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19."
University of Washington Virology Research Clinic medical director Dr. Anna Wald in Seattle said the booster can be effective for emerging variants of COVID-19 for those 50 and older.
However, she said, "I think the benefit is very marginal in that population. These vaccines that are currently available do not seem to prevent infection very effectively. But they do work really well, even in three doses, to prevent hospitalization and death."
The latest Omicron BA.2 subvariant has been showing up in about a fourth of Seattle's positive COVID tests. The UW virology lab's assistant director said the variant "has been sort of slowly creeping up over the last six weeks." The CDC reported the variant is responsible for about 35 percent of new infections in the U.S.
Dr. Wald's clinic in Seattle is currently studying the effectiveness of alternative COVID-19 booster doses. She said they were testing "various approaches to see whether the protection can be broader."
Meanwhile, in Montana, the daily report of positive COVID-19 tests reached a new low with only 12 reported infections Thursday, March 31. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reported 25 people hospitalized in Montana with COVID-19.