The Food and Drug Administration on Friday shortened the amount of time needed before a person can get a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna, from six to five months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the FDA’s recommendation, according to Axios.
In a vaccine eligibility chart published early Friday, officials said that people aged 18 and older who got Moderna’s vaccine can get booster shots of either the vaccine developed by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson “at least (five) months” after being fully vaccinated. Officials with the FDA said an emergency use authorization issued for the Moderna vaccine had been amended to allow for the shortened timeline.
“The country is in the middle of a wave of the highly contagious omicron variant, which spreads more rapidly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and other variants that have emerged,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a statement. “Vaccination is our best defense against COVID-19, including the circulating variants, and shortening the length of time between completion of a primary series and a booster dose may help reduce waning immunity.”
The decision came after officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened the recommended time between full vaccination and booster shots for people who got the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from six to five months. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA, or mRNA, vaccines which “teach our cells how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies,” according to the CDC.
“We encourage everyone to get vaccinated—it’s never too late to get your COVID-19 vaccine or booster,” Marks said.
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As of Friday morning, the nation’s public health agency recommends that people who were fully vaccinated using the Moderna vaccine get booster shots at least six months after getting their final shots.
People who were fully vaccinated with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are encouraged to get booster shots at least two months after receiving their shots. Officials with the CDC recommend that people get boosted using the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna “in most situations.”
As of Thursday morning, 74% of the U.S. population – 245.6 million people – has gotten at least one dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, according to the CDC. More than 62% of Americans, or 207 million people, have been fully vaccinated, and over 35% of those who have been fully vaccinated have gotten booster shots, CDC data shows.
Since the start of the pandemic, officials have reported 58.4 million cases of COVID-19 nationwide, resulting in nearly 834,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, 300.4 million cases have been reported, resulting in 5.4 million deaths, according to the university.
The omicron variant of COVID-19 was first detected in the U.S. on Dec. 1 and has since become the dominant variant linked to coronavirus infections nationwide, according to the CDC.