The US Food and Drug Administration has expanded the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to allow healthy adults 50 and older and certain individuals with immunocompromised conditions to get a second booster shot of those vaccines as early as four months after their first booster dose of any Covid-19 vaccine. Today’s action by the FDA only makes boosters available to certain groups. It does not require that anyone get boosted.
The FDA had previously allowed additional shots for anyone 12 or older who was severely immune-deficient. This group of people can now receive a three-dose primary series and two boosters for a total of five doses.
The FDA bases its approval of a second Covid booster on the fact that protection from Covid vaccines decreases over time and initial results from a new Israeli study that found that adults older than 60 who got a fourth dose were 78 percent less likely to die of Covid than those who got only three shots.
People in the U.S. should contact their local public health agency or health care professional to see where free boosters will be available in their communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is updating its vaccine guidance to reflect the FDA’s action.
Decisions about vaccines and boosters are up to each eligible individual. There are many factors to consider such as personal health history, the time of any previous infection which provides a period of strong immunity, the period of time since the last shot, and any need to protect especially vulnerable people.
I had a booster shot five months ago in October 2021 and plan to get another booster when one is available near me. A booster is also a good idea for me because of asthma, a condition that might increase the severity of any illness in the event of infection.
Some high profile people — former president Obama and second gentleman Doug Emhoff — have contracted Covid recently as pandemic restrictions are being relaxed. Having made it through the pandemic thus far without infection (to my knowledge) or illness, I’d prefer that the invisible virus not catch up to me now.
Have the public health authorities in your country made recommendations about additional boosters? Do you think Covid boosters will become routine like flu shots?