On Tuesday, March 29, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a second booster dose of two COVID-19 vaccines for people aged 50 and older and individuals who are immunocompromised. The new boosters could be administered four months after the first booster dose.

Current vaccine evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in higher-risk individuals. The FDA stated that the potential benefits of second boosters outweigh the potential risks for these populations.

The FDA amended the emergency use authorization as follows:

  • Individuals age 50 and older may receive a second booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Individuals age 12 and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise (e.g., people who have undergone solid organ transplantation or are living with conditions considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise) may receive a second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Individuals aged 18 and older with the same specific immunocompromise may receive a second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

All new Pfizer and Moderna boosters must be administered at least four months after the initial booster shot.

What’s Next?

On April 6, the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee will discuss the future of booster shots in other age groups as new coronavirus variants circulate. The coronavirus Omicron subvariant BA.2 is expected to become the dominant variant in the United States.

Individuals should continue to monitor the FDA’s guidance for updates. Contact your health care provider to learn more about COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility and vaccines in general.

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