(CNN) — Booster vaccines in the US could soon be expanded to a much wider population, as one source says the government will likely recommend them soon for people as young as 40 who received the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna or from Pfizer.
“I think it will happen,” said the source familiar with the plan, adding that there is “growing concern within the FDA” that the US data is beginning to show more hospitalizations among people under 65 who have been fully vaccinated.
Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster shots for people 65 and older who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. For younger people, the booster is authorized only for certain groups, such as those with certain health conditions or those in jobs that put them at high risk of contracting COVID-19.
Although Moderna’s boosters have yet to receive authorization, an FDA advisory panel recommended last week that Moderna be given the same rules as Pfizer’s boosters. They also recommended that people of all ages who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine receive a booster, which also awaits authorization, two months after their original dose.
If the FDA finally backs lowering the age for boosters, the plan would go to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for approval. Vaccine advisers from that agency will meet this week to discuss covid-19 booster vaccines.
As the colder months approach, experts have warned that the best way to control the spread of Covid-19 is through vaccination. But there have been obstacles to reaching the level of the vast majority of the population that needed to be vaccinated.
“Yes, the vaccine protects you, but (what) protects you even better is that everyone around you is vaccinated,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said this week. “We vaccinate as healthy people in part to protect the most vulnerable among us.”
Only 57.1% of the total US population is fully vaccinated, although there has been a recent increase, with an average of more than 250,000 people initiating new vaccinations a day as of Tuesday, the first time it was reached. that level last week, according to CDC data.
And for vulnerable populations, experts have said that a booster dose may be helpful in maintaining protection or reaching adequate levels for people who were unable to elicit a sufficient immune response with their initial doses.
Next week, the FDA plans to announce that Americans may receive a different coronavirus vaccine for their booster shots than their original dose, according to two sources familiar with current thinking within the agency.
The numbers are declining in the youngest, but experts are still concerned
Rates of serious illness are lower in children than other age groups, but health officials still worry about pediatric infections.
While the number of weekly cases continues to decline in children, 131,000 new cases were reported in the week ending October 14, “an extremely high number of newly diagnosed children,” the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children accounted for 25.5% of COVID-19 cases reported weekly, the group found.
More than 1.1 million cases of coronavirus infection in children have been diagnosed in the past six weeks, the group said.
Altogether, a total of 6,177,946 cases of children have been reported since the onset of the pandemic, with children accounting for 16.4% of all cases.
“The available data indicate that hospitalization and death associated with COVID-19 is rare in children,” the group adds.
Children are also less likely than adults to become seriously ill. Hospitalizations were reported in 24 states and New York City. Children represented between 1.6% and 4.2% of the total accumulated hospitalizations. Between 0.1% and 2.0% of all child cases ended up in hospitalization, according to the report.
The CDC reports that 691 children have died from Covid-19.
Currently, vaccines are only available for children up to 12 years old, but new data shows that teens who get vaccinated are well protected.
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is 93% effective in preventing hospitalization due to COVID-19 among teens ages 12 to 18, according to a study published Tuesday by the CDC.
Schools attempt to test rather than isolate exposed students
Many students across the country are not eligible to get vaccinated yet, but they are back in their classrooms, and officials and experts are fighting to keep them safe in group settings.
Some schools have enforced strict quarantine and isolation policies for children who are exposed to the virus, but the CDC is working with select school districts across the country to evaluate test-to-stay programs, which involve testing, rather than putting in quarantine students who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school.
If exposed students test negative and have no symptoms, they can continue to attend school in person. If they test positive, they should isolate themselves at home.
“At Marietta we’ve been tracking students who test positive on the permanency test, and it’s 3%,” Grant Rivera, superintendent of schools for the city of Marietta in Georgia, told CNN on Monday.
“Three percent of our students who participate in the permanence test test positive, which means we can keep 97% of them in class,” Rivera said. “That is a measure of success.”
Under a traditional quarantine program, 97% of students who tested negative would still stay home and not go to school.
“I think for the foreseeable future, we will be here every morning on a school day making sure our kids have this option,” Rivera said of the test.
The CDC notes on its website that such testing may be a practice that consists of regular testing and contact tracing, but also “keeps other prevention strategies layered, such as universal mask use, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 19 “. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism