Seniors with compromised immune systems may be given extra Omicron shots

Sylvester Fisher receives a flu vaccine from pharmacist Patricia Pernal during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the Southwest Senior Center September 9, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. The vaccines were offered alongside pneumonia vaccines and the recently approved COVID-19 booster vaccine, which protects against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the newer Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 during the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved an additional dose of Pfizer And modern‘s Covid-19 vaccines targeting Omicron variant for seniors and people with weakened immune systems.

Seniors 65 years of age or older who have already received a vaccine targeting the omicron BA.5 subvariant are now eligible for an additional dose at least four months after their last vaccination, according to the FDA. People with compromised immune systems may have another Omicron shot at least two months after their last dose, and may receive additional shots at their doctor’s discretion.

Children aged 6 months to 5 years who are unvaccinated can now receive Moderna’s full two-dose series of Omicron vaccine. Children ages 6 months to 4 years can be given three doses of Pfizer’s Shot targeting Omicron.

Children as young as 5 years old can be given either two doses of Moderna or a single dose of Pfizer.

Children under the age of 5 who have already started their vaccination course with the old Covid vaccines, which target the original strain of the virus, can receive the Omicron vaccinations to complete their course, although the number of doses depends on whether they have Pfizer or received Moderna vaccines.

Though the burden of the pandemic has eased significantly, Covid continues to kill more than 1,300 people a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the health authority, around 1,600 people with Covid are still hospitalized on average every day.

“Covid-19 continues to pose a very real risk to many people and we encourage individuals to stay current on vaccination, including a bivalent Covid-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Peter Marks, who heads the FDA division responsible for vaccines.

The FDA first approved the omicron BA.5 recordings last August, but this subvariant has long since been supplanted by a version of omicron called XBB.1.5. In June, the agency is likely to update the variant that the Covid vaccines are targeting, ahead of the fall respiratory virus season.

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