CDC urges older Americans to get Covid shots as hospitalizations rise again

CDC urges older Americans to get Covid shots as hospitalizations rise again

Shana Alesi administers a second COVID-19 booster shot to Army veteran Robert Hall at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital on April 1, 2022 in Hines, Illinois.

Scott Olson | Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week urged older Americans to get the Covid shot to boost their protection against the virus amid a further rise in hospitalizations, especially among those 70 and older.

“Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen a large and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told the health agency’s Independent Vaccine Expert Panel on Thursday. public at a public meeting.

Only 43% of people aged 65 and over have received a dose of the vaccine in the past six months and only 38% of people aged 50 to 64 have done so, Walensky said.

“That leaves about 60% of older Americans without the protection they might need to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Walensky said. “We know that immunity wanes over time, and we need to do everything we can now to protect the most vulnerable.”

Walensky said people aged 50 and over should get a fourth Covid vaccine, and those aged 12 and over with weakened immune systems should get a fifth vaccine. In March, the CDC said people in those groups could get a second Moderna and Pfizer booster dose if they wanted. The public health agency tightened its guidelines on Thursday, telling people to get vaccinated for extra protection during the current wave of Covid.

Hospitalizations rose 25% among those 70 and older over the past week, with more than 1,500 people in the age group admitted with Covid per day on average Tuesday, CDC data shows. The United States is reporting more than 100,000 new Covid infections per day on average, an 18% increase from the previous week, as more transmissible omicron variants mourn the United States.

In people aged 50 and older, two doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approximately 50% effective in preventing emergency room and emergency care visits due to omicron infection six months after receiving the second vaccine, according to data presented at a CDC committee meeting in April. . A third dose increases this protection to about 77%.

The Food and Drug Administration and CDC authorized a second booster for older Americans in March based primarily on data from Israel. Israeli scientists found that a fourth dose reduced the death rate from Covid by 78% in people aged 60 and over compared to those who received three injections. The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, looked at the medical records of more than 500,000 people from January to February at Israel’s largest healthcare provider, Clalit Health Services.

“This fourth booster dose is something that the evidence we now have from Israel suggests that getting it can reduce the risk of hospitalization and death in this elderly population,” said Dr. Peter Marks, a senior FDA official, to reporters during a call in March.

“We hope that by taking this action, we will help people take steps to protect themselves if another wave passes through this country,” Marks said.

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