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CDC says seniors should get second COVID shot of 2023-24

Despite promising data, few Americans have gotten an updated COVID shot since the vaccines were released in September.
CDC says seniors should get second COVID shot of 2023-24
Posted at 6:18 AM, Feb 29, 2024

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said adults age 65 and older should get a second COVID-19 shot during the 2023-24 season. 

An updated COVID-19 shot was released in September that focuses on more recent virus strains. 

The new recommendations come as the CDC continues to say those ages 65 and up face more significant risks from COVID-19. The virus continues to kill thousands on a monthly basis. 

According to CDC data, nearly 21,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19 since November. The CDC adds that more than half of COVID-related hospitalizations from October through December 2023 were among Americans over age 65. 

“Today’s recommendation allows older adults to receive an additional dose of this season’s COVID-19 vaccine to provide added protection,” said Mandy Cohen, CDC director. “Most COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations last year were among people 65 years and older. An additional vaccine dose can provide added protection that may have decreased over time for those at highest risk.”

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Data from the CDC indicates that Americans are largely shying away from updated COVID shots. As of Feb. 3, 31.1 million adults have gotten an updated COVID-19 shot since the updated vaccine was released in September, representing about 12% of the adult population. 

Health officials have said that the updated shot has been safe and effective. Earlier this month, the CDC reported that the updated vaccine provided approximately 54% increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19. 

"These early estimates include the period only through 119 days since vaccination, a relatively brief postvaccination period, with no substantial waning. Because consistent patterns of waning (vaccine effectiveness) VE were observed after original monovalent and bivalent COVID-19 vaccination, waning of VE is expected with more time since updated vaccination, especially against less severe outcomes such as symptomatic infection," the report says. "Additional analyses conducted at longer intervals since authorization of updated vaccines are needed for continued monitoring of expected waning and to determine how well vaccines are working to prevent severe disease."

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