The Food and Drug Administration approved COVID-19 booster shots for all adults at least six months after their initial shots with the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines on Friday.
Anyone who received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is already eligible for a booster shot two months later.
The authorization broadens eligibility for boosters, which were previously limited to adults 65 and older, those at higher risk of severe infection, or those whose jobs put them at higher risk, to anyone 18 and older.
Meanwhile, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee is scheduled to meet Friday afternoon to review booster safety and effectiveness data. It is also expected to approve the expanded use of booster doses, which will be followed by the CDC director. Boosters will then be available for free right away.
In a statement, acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said, “Vaccines have proven to be the best and most effective defense against COVID-19.” “Authorizing the use of a single booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older contributes to ongoing protection against COVID-19, including the serious consequences that can occur, such as hospitalization and death.”
Boosters have been shown by all three companies to improve protection against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 while posing no additional safety concerns. However, there are concerns that for men under the age of 30, who are at a relatively high risk of developing a condition known as myocarditis, the benefits of a third shot may not outweigh the risk of developing this heart muscle swelling.
According to a study published Wednesday in the American Journal of Infection Control, nearly one-third of health care workers were not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-September.
The study, which included a pool of more than 3.3 million health care workers from over 2,000 hospitals, discovered that as of Sept. 15, 70% of them were fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates were highest in children’s hospitals and urban health care centers.
The study discovered that health care professionals who refused to be vaccinated were more likely to have low trust in the government and regulatory authorities. However, these individuals demonstrated greater trust in medical professionals, highlighting the critical role of medical organizations and professional societies in encouraging vaccinations for health care workers, according to the researchers. Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for health-care workers goes into effect on January 4.
Researchers wrote that looming vaccine mandates could “significantly increase COVID-19 vaccine coverage” among health care workers. They also advocated for more educational and promotional efforts, misinformation-targeted communication initiatives, and paid time off to get vaccinated.
Hundreds of Mexican teenagers were bused to California on Thursday to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, as efforts across Mexico are underway to get shots in the arms of teenagers.
Mexico has resisted immunizing minors aged 12 to 17, in part because the government believes older adults are more vulnerable. Mexico has also run out of vaccines for the majority of its minors, who make up one-third of the country’s population. This month, the country is preparing to begin vaccinating only teenagers aged 15 to 17.
As a result, a group in San Diego, as well as San Diego County, stepped in to assist their neighbor.
The San Diego pilot program aims to get 450 youths aged 12 to 17 shots before it ends in late December. Mexican social service organizations, including those that work with children whose parents have been deported from the United States, chose the Tijuana adolescents.
On Thursday, about 150 Tijuana children were bused to the Mexican consulate in San Diego, where county nurses administered the Pfizer vaccine.