COVID-19 Update: Second Booster Dose Authorized for Ages 50+Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a second booster dose of the either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccines for everyone 50 and older.
The agency stated that emerging evidence suggests a fourth shot – a second booster – of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine improves protection against severe COVID-19 and is not associated with any new and immediate safety concerns.
The agency amended the emergency use authorizations as follows:
- A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to people aged 50 years and above at least four months after their first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may be administered to certain people aged 12 years and above who may be immunocompromised at least four months after their first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine. These are people who have undergone solid organ transplantation or who are considered to be immunocompromised.
- A second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be administered at least four months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 18 years and above with the same certain kinds of immunocompromised health conditions.
Lee Health infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephanie Stovall, Chief Clinical Officer of Quality/Safety and Hospital-Based Care, says the second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for higher-risk individuals.
“The current evidence suggests some diminishing protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” Dr. Stovall explains. “The data shows that an initial booster dose is critical in helping to protect all adults from the potentially severe outcomes of COVID-19. Those who have not received their initial booster dose are strongly encouraged to do so.”
The FDA made clear that the authorization applies only to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The authorization of a single booster dose for other age groups with these vaccines remains unchanged. The agency says it will continue to evaluate data and information as it becomes available when considering the potential use of a second booster dose in other age groups.
The CDC reports that the first booster authorized for administration last fall saved lives over the winter. According to the agency, while the Omicron variant surged, people who had received booster shots were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 and seven times less likely to be hospitalized than those who were unvaccinated.