U.S. health officials are considering whether to authorize a second COVID-19 booster shot for all adults. Currently, a second booster has only been authorized for people over the age of 50 and those who are immunocompromised.
According to the New York Times, top officials within the Biden administration are in discussions with the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the need for a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer.
The push for authorizing a second booster comes as the number of new cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise. The recent surge in infections has been caused by two new highly-contagious variants, BA.4 and BA.5, which account for about 70% of all new COVID-19 cases. There is also concern that immunity from the initial two-dose series and the first booster shot is waning in younger people.
The plan has received some pushback from other officials who aren’t sold on the need for people to get a fourth COVID-19 shot. In addition, they are concerned that urging people to get a second booster this summer will hamper the push for redesigned vaccines that are more effective at protecting against COVID variants. The updated vaccines could be available by the fall.
In addition, they are unsure how many people would actually get the second booster. While about 50% of those eligible for the first booster have gotten it, just 30% of those eligible for the second booster have gotten vaccinated.