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US Health Agency Approves COVID Booster For Age 6 Months And Above Amid Rising Cases, Hospitalization
Apparently, new Covid-19 variant EG.5 is on the rise in the US. The variant is causing about 17 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases in the country compared to 16 per cent for the next most common lineage, XBB.1.16.
New York: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director has recommendated that all Americans aged 6 months and older should receive the updated COVID booster on Tuesday amid rising cases and hospitalizations across the country. It comes just a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized and approved the new shot.
The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has faded, but there are still thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths in the U.S. each week. Hospitalizations have been increasing since late summer, though the latest data indicate infections may be starting to level off, particularly in the South.
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The boosters made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were formulated to target variants that are currently circulating, which are related to XBB – an offshoot of the omicron variant.
The advisory panel made the recommendation, which was then approved by director Dr. Mandy Cohen. “Vaccination remains critical to public health and continued protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement.
“The public can be assured that these updated vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. We very much encourage those who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated,” the statement continued.
The shots are expected to be available later this week as they are delivered to pharmacies and health care providers across the country, with likely meaningful supply starting next week.
Following the COVID booster approval, President Biden said “today marks another important milestone” and encouraged Americans to continue to stay updated on vaccinations.
“Today’s announcement also means that we now have immunizations for all three major seasonal respiratory viruses – COVID-19, flu, and RSV. Vaccination against COVID-19 remains the most important protection in avoiding hospitalization, long-term health complications and death. I encourage all Americans to stay up-to-date on their vaccines,” Biden said.
The FDA currently says children aged 5 and up — regardless of previous vaccination — are eligible to receive one updated booster dose at least two months after the last COVID dose.
The updated boosters are each approved for those aged 12 and older and authorized for emergency use for children between ages 6 months and 11 years.
For those aged 6 months to 4 years who have previously been vaccinated, the agency says they are eligible to receive one or two booster doses. For unvaccinated individuals in this age group, the FDA says they are eligible for three doses.
Recent data has indicated the booster could offer additional protection against currently circulating variants and especially protect against severe disease and death, particularly for those who are elderly or immune compromised.
Apparently, new Covid-19 variant EG.5 is on the rise in the US. The variant is causing about 17 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases in the country compared to 16 per cent for the next most common lineage, XBB.1.16, according to the latest estimates from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CNN reported. The new variant is a spinoff of the XBB recombinant strain of the Omicron family.