Immunocompromised elderly people may receive additional injections of omicron

Sylvester Fisher receives a flu shot from pharmacist Patricia Pernal during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the Southwest Senior Center on September 09, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. Vaccines were offered with pneumonia vaccines and the recently licensed COVID-19 booster vaccine, which protects against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and newer omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5 during the event . (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized an additional dose of Pfizer And Modern‘s Covid-19 vaccines targeting the omicron variant for the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

People age 65 or older who have previously received a vaccine targeting the omicron BA.5 subvariant are now eligible to receive another dose at least four months after their last injection, according to the FDA. People with weakened immune systems may receive another injection of omicron at least two months after their last dose and may receive additional injections at the discretion of their doctor.

Unvaccinated children 6 months to 5 years of age can now receive the full two-dose series of Moderna’s omicron vaccine. Children 6 months to 4 years old can receive three doses of the Pfizer vaccine that targets omicron.

Five-year-olds can get either two doses of Moderna or a single dose of Pfizer.

Children under 5 who have already started their series of vaccinations with older Covid vaccines that target the original strain of the virus can receive the omicron injections to complete their course, although the number of doses they receive will depend whether or not you have taken the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. .

Although the burden of the pandemic has eased considerably, Covid continues to kill more than 1,300 people a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some 1,600 people are still hospitalized daily on average for Covid, according to the public health agency.

“Covid-19 continues to be a very real risk for many people, and we encourage individuals to consider keeping up to date with vaccination, including with a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine,” said Dr Peter Marks , which heads the FDA’s department responsible for vaccines. .

The FDA first cleared omicron BA.5 injections last August, but that subvariant has long since been superseded by a version of omicron called XBB.1.5. In June, the agency will likely update the variant targeted by Covid vaccines, ahead of the fall respiratory virus season.

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