The new COVID booster is still not available to everyone

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has approved new booster shots designed to combat COVID-19’s most recent and highly prevalent omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5. Thankfully, these most recent, highly prevalent variants, while more communicable, are less lethal.

In a commentary published in The American Journal of Medicine, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and collaborators provide the most updated guidance to healthcare providers, urging widespread vaccination with these boosters to avoid future and lethal variants.

A study by Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr PH, senior author, first Sir Richard Doll Professor of Medicine and senior academic advisor, FAU Schmidt College of Medicine, revealed that the U.S. ranks last in vaccination rates and first in COVID-19 deaths.

COVID-19 has presented new and existing challenges to healthcare professionals in communities and hospitals across the country. According to the most recent FDA and CDC guidelines, vaccination of all U.S. adults and eligible children should be a priority, so we must redouble our efforts to promote evidence-based clinical and public health practices.”

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Compared to influenza, the mortality rate from COVID-19 is 30 times higher, according to the authors. Furthermore, a positive COVID-19 patient is likely to infect six people instead of one or two with influenza. Finally, the boosters will reduce the risk of death and hospitalization by more than 90 per cent.

The most simple and straightforward guidance we can now offer to health care providers is that all individuals ages 5 and older should receive a booster shot,” said Alexandra Rubenstein, first author, clinical research coordinator, Department of Neurology, Boston Medical Center, and an aspiring physician.

A recent EUA issued by the FDA and CDC specifies that those aged 5 and older may receive bivalent boosters from Pfizer, while those aged 6 and older can receive bivalent boosters from Moderna. While the absolute risks of severe COVID-19 are low in youths, independent external advisers to the FDA deemed the benefit-to-risk ratio favourable.”

In this article, the authors argue that vaccines for preventing common and severe infectious diseases improved human health more than any other medical advancement in the 20th century. The percentage of children in the U.S. who have been vaccinated against common and serious childhood diseases has decreased since 2019.

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The number of diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus vaccinations in the U.S. dropped from 85 per cent in 2019 to 67 per cent in 2021, said co-author Sarah K. Wood, M.D., professor of paediatrics and interim chair, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and vice dean for medical education, FAU Schmidt College of Medicine.

An unvaccinated young adult in Rockland County, New York, contracted a paralytic disease, raising concerns about the loss of herd immunity and leading to new outbreaks of severe preventable morbidity and mortality.

The authors note that most Americans would seek effective and safe treatments for infectious diseases. More side effects are caused by surgery, toxic chemotherapy, and radiation therapy than by vaccinations, which are routinely accepted for cancer patients. The authors recommend that healthcare providers provide a COVID-19 booster vaccine to all eligible patients to protect individuals and communities.