UNITED States residents can now get booster shots of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed its advisory committee’s recommendation.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Thursday, October 21, signed off on the recommendation, a day after the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the booster doses.
“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” she said in a statement.
“The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant,” she added.
Earlier, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted to support COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
The panel recommended a third dose of the Moderna vaccine at least six months after an individual received the second shot. The booster is recommended for those 65 and older, or 18 and older if they’re at high risk for severe COVID-19, or their jobs or living conditions put them at high risk of exposure to the virus.
Meanwhile, the second dose of the J&J vaccine was recommended for everyone who received their first dose two months ago.
The ACIP also allowed mixing and matching of booster shots, which means people can get a different brand as a booster than was used for an initial vaccination.
In September, the CDC signed off on Pfizer booster shots for a broad group of people who are at high risk for infection.
The third dose was recommended for people 65 and older, nursing home residents, and those aged 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems.
It was also endorsed for individuals aged 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions, as well as those aged 18 to 64 years old who were at greater risk of COVID-19 because of their occupational or institutional settings.
The boosters are to be given at least six months after people get their second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
To date, nearly 190 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to CDC data, almost 6% of fully vaccinated Americans have already received their booster shot.