November 23, 2021, 11:43 a.m. News Staff — CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., on Nov. 19 endorsed a unanimous recommendation from the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices earlier in the day to allow for administration of a single booster dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in all adults 18 and older in the United States.
Walensky also endorsed an ACIP recommendation that the CDC lower the age threshold for adults who should be urged to get a booster from 65 and older to 50 and older. This recommendation applies to the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Adults who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been allowed to receive a booster two months after the original dose since October.
The AAFP approved the advisory committee’s recommendation following an expedited review of the evidence, and has updated its COVID-19 Vaccine and COVID-19 Booster Doses FAQs webpages to reflect this latest information.
The ACIP’s vote followed a decision by the FDA earlier on Friday to expand the emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer and Moderna booster vaccines to include all adults 18 and older.
Last month, Walensky endorsed the use of booster doses for individuals 65 and older and adults ages 18 to 64 who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease or complications due to underlying medical conditions or frequent exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and who have been vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine at least six months prior.
The FDA on Oct. 20 also amended its existing emergency use authorization for the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose in individuals 18 and older at least two months after receiving the original single dose.
The ACIP’s vote on Friday simplifies and clarifies the previous guidance. Based on Walensky’s endorsement of the new recommendations, any adult between 18 and 49 with no risk factors who wants a booster dose may get one if they so choose, while all other adults should get a booster.
Individuals who have already received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may get a booster dose at least six months after completion of their primary vaccination series, while people who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine may continue to receive a booster two months after their original dose.
More than 36 million people in the United States have received a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose as of Nov. 22, according to CDC data. Of those, more than 28 million are 50 or older.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Academy’s staff and medical experts have developed resources and content on AAFP.org and familydoctor.org to keep members aware of the latest information. Those resources continue to be updated. In addition to the resources noted above, the Academy’s COVID-19 and COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs webpages contain the latest data on the pandemic and the vaccines used to combat COVID-19, along with information on recent and upcoming FDA and ACIP meetings, educational materials for clinicians and patients, advocacy information, links to external organizations, and more.