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CDC Advisory Panel Recommends Updated COVID Vaccines for All Americans Ages 6 Months and Up

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CDC Advisory Panel Recommends Updated COVID Vaccines for All Americans Ages 6 Months and Up

(CTN News) – Updated COVID vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have been recommended for all Americans 6 months and older by a CDC advisory panel on Tuesday, marking the next step towards the doses reaching Americans in the coming days.

Only one of the fourteen advisors voted against the “universal” proposal for Americans.

That recommendation needs to be approved by CDC Director Mandy Cohen before the new shots can be distributed to pharmacies, local health departments, and clinics across the country.

Shifting to Annual COVID Vaccine Updates

During Tuesday’s advisory meeting, the head of the CDC’s immunization services section, Georgina Peacock, said that the first doses should be ready within 48 hours of that suggestion.

In my opinion, vaccination will undoubtedly protect people of all ages from developing life-threatening diseases and losing their lives to them.

Dr. Beth Bell, a clinical professor at the University of Washington and panel member, emphasized that this was a disease that could be prevented with vaccinations. That’s why I support the widely accepted advice.

Some experts, however, contended that the CDC should advise the shots only for those at high risk of getting very ill with COVID-19, such as the elderly, young children, and those with impaired immune systems.

The two mRNA injections are intended to target the omicron subvariant XBB.1.5, and were approved by the Food and Drug Administration the day before the advisory panel’s “universal” suggestion. The FDA is still weighing in on a new protein-based vaccine from Novavax.

Pfizer and Moderna’s new vaccinations for people aged 12 and up have been given the go-light by the FDA. The agency gave the OK for the shots to be used in an emergency for kids aged 6-11.

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Similar to the seasonal flu vaccination, the new doses are part of an initiative by public health experts to annually update COVID-19 vaccines to target more recent strains of the virus. The release of the jab coincides with a resurgence of the virus in the United States.

For the week ending August 26, the number of people admitted to hospitals jumped by 15.1%, to 17,418. This is the seventh week in a row that hospitalizations have risen.

This is still significantly lower than the spike in hospitalizations the United States experienced in the summer of 2022, when the number reached well than 40,000.

On the other hand, CDC epidemiologist Dr. Megan Wallace warned at the meeting on Tuesday that the agency “anticipates further increases” as the United States approaches respiratory virus season this autumn and winter, when Covid, respiratory syncytial virus, and influenza tend to circulate at greater than average levels.

The modernized vaccines are hoped to reduce the number of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 infections caused by the most recently emerged strains.

Initial trial data released by Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax all point to the new injections’ ability to elicit strong immune responses against the prevailing EG.5, or “Eris,” form.

According to the CDC, as of September 2nd, 21.5% of all cases in the United States were caused by the omicron strain, closely related to XBB.1.5.

Initial trial data from both Pfizer and Moderna have shown that their new injections are effective against another omicron variation dubbed BA.2.86. On Monday, Novavax said that testing of their BA.2.86 vaccine was ongoing.

Due to the high number of mutations found in that strain, health officials worldwide are carefully monitoring the modest but growing number of cases across the United States.

At an advisory meeting on Tuesday, Dr. Fran Priddy, Moderna’s executive director of clinical development for the Covid vaccine program, stated that the company’s XBB.1.5 vaccine “provides a substantial increase in responses to both the variant in the vaccine and cross-neutralization of other variants – and this is regardless of prior infection status.”

New vaccines are expected to become available in the United States several months after the Covid public health emergency ended.

Now that the statement is no longer necessary, manufacturers can sell their improved injections to healthcare practitioners without going through the government. Previously, the government had bought vaccines from producers at a discount and given them out for free to all Americans.

During the meeting, both companies listed their vaccine’s list price; Moderna’s was $129 per dosage and Pfizer’s was $120 per dose. Novavax, meanwhile, claims its pricing per dose is $130.

Private insurance companies and government payers like Medicare will cover the whole cost of the new vaccines for most Americans.

The Biden administration’s short-term “Bridge Access Programme” will allow health centres, clinics, and eventually pharmacies across the United States to provide free vaccinations to the uninsured and underinsured. The program’s free immunizations will end in December 2024, per the CDC’s website.

After the Covid injections enter the commercial market, the Vaccines For Children program at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will offer them free of charge to children whose families or caretakers cannot afford them.

 

 

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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