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CDC: Older Americans should get a COVID-19 booster this spring

Older Americans should receive a second dose of the latest Covid vaccine this spring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday.

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The shot would be a second dose of the most recent versions of the COVID vaccines rolled out in the fall by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Novavax, the agency said.

The CDC is recommending that people over age 65 get the booster, The Associated Press reported.

CDC Director Mandy Cohen endorsed a recommendation by the agency’s advisory committee that adults 65 and older receive an additional updated dose of the vaccine as long as it has been at least four months since their last shot or three months since a COVID-19 infection.

“Most COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations last year were among people 65 years and older,” Cohen said in a statement. “An additional vaccine dose can provide added protection that may have decreased over time for those at highest risk.”

More than 43 percent of Americans aged 75 and older got the fall shot, compared with fewer than 10 percent of adults aged 18 to 29 years, according to the CDC.

CDC epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Link-Gelles told the advisers during the meeting Wednesday that while 98% of the US population has some kind of immunity to COVID-19, that immunity gives only some protection against another infection or severe disease.

Contracting the virus, getting vaccinated or both, “doesn’t protect absolutely,” Link-Gelles said.

Fall 2023 vaccination rates were lowest among Native Americans, Alaska Natives and those who lived in rural areas, according to The CDC.

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