The Lead

CDC updates COVID-19 vaccine booster guidance as case counts rise

By: - May 24, 2022 3:25 pm

COVID-19 vaccine is stored at -80 degrees celsius in the pharmacy at Roseland Community Hospital on December 18, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The hospital began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to its workers yesterday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its COVID-19 vaccine guidance to include expanded eligibility for booster doses.

In a statement issued last week, the CDC expanded guidance for children, authorizing those ages 5 through 11 years old to receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer vaccination series. Individuals 12 or older who are immunocompromised and those ages 50 and older are currently eligible for second booster doses. The agency cited a nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases as the reason for the update to the eligibility guidelines. 

As of May 23, the CDC reported a daily average of 102,940 new cases of COVID-19 in the United States. 

“With cases increasing, it is important that all people have the protection they need,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement. “Those 50 and older and those who are 12 and older and immunocompromised should get a second booster dose.”

Maggi Barton, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said that the commonwealth continues to follow the CDC’s vaccination guidance regarding who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccine boosters. 

The CDC has authorized boosters for: 

1 booster

2 boosters 

  • Adults ages 50 years and older
  • People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
  • People who got 2 doses (1 primary dose and 1 booster) of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

Individuals who are age 50 and older or who are immunocompromised should receive a second booster dose “at least four months after their first” booster, according to the CDC. 

“Older adults—especially those with underlying medical conditions—and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe health impacts if infected by COVID-19, and are therefore among those most likely to benefit from the additional protection of a second booster shot,” Barton said. 

The CDC also stipulates that second boosters can only be Moderna or Pfizer for adults or Pfizer for people ages 12 to 17 years old.

Vaccine providers can be located using the CDC’s vaccine finder tool. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.

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