Older Americans Should Get Another Covid Shot This Spring, Panel Says

Americans ages 65 and older should receive an additional dose of the latest Covid vaccine this spring, scientific advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

The spring shot would be a second dose of the most recent iteration of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Novavax vaccines introduced in the fall. The recommendation now goes to the C.D.C. director, Dr. Mandy Cohen, who is likely to accept it.

At a meeting of the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, federal researchers presented preliminary data showing that the latest vaccines have an effectiveness of about 40 to 50 percent against symptomatic infection or hospitalization, although estimates against currently circulating variants were based on small numbers.

In October and November, adults who received a fall dose accounted for 4 percent of Covid-related hospitalizations. Those who got a booster in the fall of 2022, but not the updated vaccine this fall, accounted for 25 percent.

Still, a second dose this spring would not be cost-effective for adults 18 to 64 years old, who are at lower risk of severe illness and hospitalization than older adults, according to modeling presented at the meeting.

Older adults and those with weakened immune systems because of illnesses or medications would benefit the most from a spring dose, the advisers concluded.

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