Seniors and people with weakened immune systems can get another booster dose of the bivalent COVID vaccine this spring, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.
Seniors age 65 and older can get a booster at least four months following their first dose of the bivalent vaccine, which protects against both the original and Omicron strains of COVID, the FDA said. People with weakened immune systems can get a booster at least two months after their last vaccine dose, based on their doctor’s judgment, the agency added.
“COVID-19 continues to be a very real risk for many people. We are therefore encouraging everyone to consider staying current with vaccination,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said during a Tuesday morning media briefing.
COVID continues to be linked to about 1,300 deaths each week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention.
The FDA announcement was part of an overall effort to simplify the COVID vaccine schedule for Americans, the agency said.
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In its Tuesday announcement, the FDA also rescinded its emergency use authorization for the original Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines, which are credited with saving tens of millions of lives during the pandemic.
Only the bivalent vaccines will be available going forward, the FDA said.
Adults and children who’ve only gotten the original vaccine remain eligible for a dose of bivalent vaccine manufactured by either Moderna or Pfizer.
Roughly 75% of Americans under the age of 65 are eligible for a bivalent vaccine dose but haven’t gotten the booster, Marks said.
“Those individuals certainly could go out and get a bivalent booster now to improve their