Health chiefs are urging all Americans over 50 years old to come forward for their fourth Covid vaccine amid rising cases and hospitalizations, despite some experts warning the shots are not yet needed for the group.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC,) called on older Americans to ‘stay up to date’ with their jabs, saying many were last vaccinated ‘months ago’ on Thursday.
Second boosters were approved for older adults at the end of March but, to date, only a quarter have received the additional shot. The CDC is now doubling down on efforts to get more people jabbed for a fourth time.
They are concerned about waning levels of immunity in the population, with tests showing Covid-fighting antibody levels decline after vaccination. However, they have not concerned other facets of immunity — including B and T-cells — which normally last for much longer.
When the jabs were first approved Dr Mark Marty, a medical expert at John Hopkins University, warned agencies had ‘simply ignored’ its own experts that disagreed with the decision.
Dr Anna Durbin, a public health expert at the university in Baltimore, Maryland, also weighed in previously saying there are ‘very few, if any’ people who would benefit from a fourth dose.
It comes as America’s Covid deaths fell week-on-week for the ninth day in a row, down 13 percent to 336 fatalities a day on average. This is on a par with last summer.
Infections across the country are still surging with about 102,000 recorded every day on average — up 45 percent on the same time last week.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, who heads up the CDC, told Americans over 50 years old to get their second booster vaccines. But many experts including Dr Marty Makary, from John Hopkins University, have raised concerns over the extra jabs
Covid deaths in the U.S. are down for the ninth day in a row, falling 13 percent to 336 a day on average
But Covid cases continue to rise with about 102,000 now being recorded every day. Infections are doubling every two weeks in 10 states at present
‘With cases increasing, it is important that all people have the protection they need, which is why, today, CDC has also strengthened another booster recommendation,’ Walensky said.
‘Those 50 and older and those who are 12 and older and immunocompromised should get a second booster dose.’
A CDC spokesman added: ‘Over the past month we have seen steady increases in cases, with a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans.
CDC says children aged 5 to 11 SHOULD get Pfizer’s Covid booster vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that children ages five to 11 get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, despite a top expert having warned there is ‘no evidence’ that they need one.
‘Today, I endorsed ACIP’s vote to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses,’ CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced Thursday. ‘Children ages 5-11 should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after their primary series.’
The booster shot endorsement comes as Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases scientist at the University of California, San Francisco, told DailyMail.com there were no studies showing the extra jab lowered children’s risk of symptomatic infection. Youngster’s are already at very low risk of severe disease and death, multiple data sources and studies find.
She added that it was ‘not clear’ whether any benefit from the jab outweighed the risks for the age group, given the rare side-effect myocarditis — or heart inflammation — which is more likely among young boys.
‘While older Americans have the highest coverage of any age group of first booster doses, most older Americans received their last dose (either their primary series or their first booster dose) many months ago, leaving many who are vulnerable without the protection they may need to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death.’
The statement was made after a panel of experts at the agency agreed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that booster doses should be made available to five to 11-year-olds.
They warned that children in the age group who had not received their first two doses were ‘vulnerable’ to the virus. They added there were no safety concerns over the vaccine.
Several experts have raised concerns over vaccinating children pointing out they are at very low risk of serious illness and death if they catch the disease. A total of 1,045 youngsters have died from Covid over the last two-and-a-half years, or 0.1 percent of America’s more than a million deaths. Three quarters are also estimated to have already been infected with the virus, per a CDC study.
Railing against the decision to approve Covid booster jabs last month, Makary wrote in the Wall Street Journal: ‘Some of the FDA’s own experts disagree with the decision, but the agency simply ignored them.’
Durbin also voiced concern over the top-up shots, telling ABC in March: ‘There are very few, if any, people who, in my opinion require a fourth dose.’
Controversy over whether to recommend the top-up shots for older adults stems from a lack of evidence that immunity from B and T-cells — long overlooked by scientists — has waned.
There are also concerns over vaccine fatigue, with it being likely that getting people to top up immunity again now will leave them less likely to also get the booster shots in the autumn period.
Among younger adults issues have been raised over the very rare side-effect of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart — which some experts say outweighs any benefit from the vaccine.
Member’s of the FDA’s own vaccination committee also voiced concern over second boosters, with Eric Rubin the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine saying at the time that he was yet to see evidence that healthy older adults needed a fourth dose.
Dr Paul Offit, and FDA advisor who is also at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said he was advising his 20-something son to forgo a third shot — despite it being recommended for everyone over 12 years old.
It comes as the U.S. Covid wave continues to grow nationally with infections doubling every two weeks across 10 states. These are: Mississippi, Connecticut, Louisiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Maryland.
Only one state — Maine — is currently seeing its Covid cases ticking down.
In response to the wave the Federal Government has allowed all adults to order another eight Covid swabs to help keep track of the virus.
New York City health chiefs have also recommended people start wearing face masks indoors, although Mayor Eric Adams has refused to mandate the face coverings, pointing out that hospitals are not under severe pressure.
America registered another 336 Covid fatalities yesterday, which is similar to late last summer when just under 300 were being registered every day on average.
Covid hospitalizations are rising with about 3,200 now being recorded every day, up a quarter on the same time last week.
But many of these patients are likely people admitted for a separate condition — such as a fall — who then test positive. New York City data shows more than half of their ‘Covid’ patients were not primarily admitted with the disease.