The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13-1 on Sept. 12 to recommend the COVID-19 booster shots. A day prior on Sept. 11, the FDA gave the green light for the updated injections.
The public health agency said the new COVID-19 booster doses by Pfizer and Moderna target the XBB15 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron strain. Early tests also showed that it reportedly targets the BA286 (pirola) and EG5 (eris) variants.
CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen stressed that the new and improved vaccines would better protect Americans and their loved ones, given the upcoming winter season. "If you have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself this fall and winter," her agency said in a Sept. 12 statement. (Related: Biden wants Americans to get another COVID booster shot as he schemes to unleash COVID 2.0 in the coming weeks.)
According to the CDC, winter 2023 will be the first season when vaccines will be available for COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza. These three pathogens are reportedly responsible for most most hospitalizations during the colder seasons.
Moreover, the agency assured the public that the updated COVID-19 booster shots will be accessible to most Americans at no cost, as the majority of health insurance plans will cover the vaccination. For those without health insurance or with plans that do not cover the shot, free vaccines will be available through facilities participating in the Bridge Access Program of the CDC.
Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio, was the lone dissenter among the ACIP. He clarified that while he was "not against the vaccine," there wasn't enough data to justify it being recommended to children.
"The limited data that are available does look great, but we have extremely limited data on children," said Sanchez. "I think that needs to be made available to parents."
The pediatrician and ACIP member is not alone in this sentiment. Even Dr. Paul Offit of the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee expressed skepticism regarding the efficacy of the newly authorized COVID-19 injections.
In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in January, Offit described the evidence supporting the new vaccines as "underwhelming" and questioned their superiority over the original versions. He suggested that the new COVID-19 boosters may be most effective when administered to certain sectors of the population. Such sectors include older adults, those with multiple underlying health conditions and immunocompromised individuals.
Offit declared that healthy Americans under the age of 75 do not need to get the updated COVID-19 booster. "In the meantime, I believe we should stop trying to prevent all symptomatic infections in healthy, young people by boosting them with vaccines containing mRNA from strains that might disappear a few months later," he wrote.
CDC.news has more stories about the public health agency's stance on COVID-19 boosters.
Watch this video about the Biden administration pushing for yearly boosters and buying doses, despite Americans not wanting them.
This video is from The HighWire with Del Bigtree channel on Brighteon.com.