Matthew Daley, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, said waiting until November could cause as many as 9,700 deaths and 137,000 new hospitalizations.
A remodeled one booster shotagainst the new subvariants of SARS-CoV-2, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend, emphasizing that the administration of the boosted dose of the vaccine is an important step to increase immunity against the new submutations of the Omicron mutation.
The doctors of the Theodora Psaltopoulos Therapeutic Clinic of the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Syrigou Rodanthi Eleni, Yiannis Danasis, Panos Malandrakis and Thanos Dimopoulos (Rector of EKPA) summarize the data of the recent publication by the US CDC on a new reformulated booster vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
The US CDC on Thursday recommended that millions of eligible US citizens (aged 12 and over) receive a booster vaccine targeting the Omicron variant to boost defenses against severe and/or fatal COVID-19 disease. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed the recommendation, recommending that clinicians, pharmacies and other health care providers begin administering the vaccines as early as this weekend. The Immunization Practices Advisory Committee voted 13 to 1 to give Moderna’s boosted vaccines to people over 18, and Pfizer-BioNTech, to people over 12.
The CDC recommendation, coupled with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) one-day-early approval of the vaccines, marks a turning point that reflects the dogged fight to combat the pandemic and its high death rates over the past 2½ years since the start of the pandemic.
“Boosted vaccines are more effective against the Omicron mutation and will go a long way in restoring protection from previous vaccination, as they are designed to be effective against the new mutations“, Ms. Walensky said in a statement.
Several members of the advisory committee expressed concern about the lack of clinical data on the boosted vaccines, while stressing their necessity, as waiting until November could cause many new infections and even deaths. Mr. Matthew Daley, a clinician at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, emphasized that waiting until November could cause up to 9,700 deaths and 137,000 new hospitalizations based on the data presented. He adds that there are millions of doses of the boosted vaccines available, and they are an important tool for disease prevention in the fall and winter. CDC data showed that people vaccinated with all 4 doses had a 14-fold reduced risk of fatal infection, as well as hospitalization.
Doses began to be distributed to hospitals, pharmacies and clinics in the US after the FDA approval of Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech’s enhanced vaccines. As in the previous doses, the vaccines will be distributed free of charge.
The new vaccines target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant that predominate in the US, and will boost immunity as they are more compatible with the predominant strains. Until now, vaccines have targeted the original version of the coronavirus even as new mutations emerged. The new bivalent vaccine contains the original formulation, as well as the new one that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 mutations that have been more contagious since the start of the pandemic and are responsible for 90% of the mutation that sickens US citizens.
The booster dose can be received by those who received their last dose of vaccination up to two months ago, even if they only received one dose of the original vaccine. The two-month period after the last vaccination aims to strengthen immunity, while also reducing the risk of rare side effects, such as myocarditis and cardiomyopathy in young people. The CDC estimates that about 200 million patients are eligible to receive the boosted dose, while about 22 million of those over 50 received the previous dose at least six months ago. Jen Kates emphasizes that many American citizens are slow to receive the additional doses, while only 20% of citizens have expressed their desire to be vaccinated as soon as possible with the enhanced dose. Albert Ko, an epidemiologist and professor at the Yale School of Public Health, is concerned that there will continue to be new COVID-19 deaths in America this winter and stresses the need for vaccines.
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