The doctors of the Therapeutic Clinic of the School of Medicine National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (EKPA) Theodora Psaltopoulou, Syrigou Rodanthi Eleni, Yannis 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 for strengthening defenses against severe and/or fatal disease COVID-19.
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’s recommendation in conjunction with the approval of the administration of the vaccines one day earlier than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)marks a turning point that reflects the persistent struggle to combat the pandemic and high death rates over the past 2½ years since the pandemic began.
“Boosted vaccines are more effective against the Omicron mutation and will go a long way toward 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 boosted vaccines, while stressing their necessity, as waiting until November can cause many new infections and even deaths. Matthew Daley, a clinician at Kaiser Permanente Colorado, said 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 for her enhanced vaccines Modern and her Pfizer/ BioNTech. As in the previous doses, the vaccines will be distributed free of charge.
The new vaccines target the US-dominant BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron variant, and they will strengthen immunity as they are more compatible with the dominant 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 enhanced dose can be taken by those who have received it last dose of vaccination their up to two months before, even if they have received only 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 to new 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.