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Booster Shot for COVID May Eventually Be Required to Qualify as “Fully Vaccinated”

(by Rishma Parpia | The Vaccine Reaction) – As the COVID-19 booster vaccines are being rolled out for certain groups, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the agency is considering changing the definition of “fully vaccinated” in the near future.1 “We have not yet changed the definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ We will continue to look at this. We may need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ in the future,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD.2

CDC’s Current Criteria for “Fully Vaccinated” Against SARS-CoV-2

 Currently in the United States, people are considered “fully vaccinated” against the SARS-CoV-2 virus either two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna/NIAID COVID experimental messenger RNA (mRNA) biologics, or two weeks after a single-dose COVID shot, such as Johnson & Johnson/Janssen’s experimental Ad26.COV2.S adenovirus vectored vaccine. The CDC states that if you do not meet these requirements you are not fully vaccinated, regardless of your age.3

Criteria for What CDC Considers “Fully Vaccinated” is Expected to Change to Include Booster Shots

In light of the introduction of booster COVID shots, there has been speculation that the definition of “fully vaccinated” will change in the near future.4 “If you’re eligible for a booster, go ahead and get your booster and we will continue to follow,” Dr. Walensky said.5

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently recommended booster COVID shots in certain populations. For individuals who received a Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna/NIAID COVID shots, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series: 65 years and older; age 18+ who live in long-term settings; age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions, and age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings. For people who got the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen shot, boosters are recommended for those who are 18 years of age and older and who were vaccinated two or more months prior.6

CDC Approves “Mixing and Matching” COVID Booster Shots by Different Manufacturers

There are new booster recommendations for all three COVID shots produced by three different manufacturers currently available for use in the U.S. The CDC’s new recommendations now allow for “mix and match” dosing of COVID booster shots without regard for which manufacturer produced the vaccine. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose, opting to select the vaccine type they originally received or get a different booster shot produced by a different manufacturer.7

According to the CDC, receiving two different COVID shots produced by different manufacturers does not affect safety or effectiveness. A recent study used to support CDC’s  “mix and match” recommendation did not report any adverse reactions in the participants who “mixed and matched” boosters; however, the scientists acknowledged that the data on “mix and match” shots is limited to a very small sample of 458 participants enrolled in the study.8 Read Full Article >

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