A: Currently, there is no recommendation for additional boosters.
TL;DR: The U.S. may be moving towards annual boosters, but with “flexibility” for the most vulnerable if the situation changes.
Last week the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to discuss the future of COVID-19 vaccines.
The group acknowledged that older (>65 years) and immunocompromised people remain more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 outcomes and may benefit from more frequent boosters.
Nonetheless, the group felt there was not sufficient evidence to recommend additional boosters right now. So far, hospitalization rates among older adults who have received the bivalent booster remain low.
Because everything with COVID-19 is *still* new and hasn’t fallen into a true seasonal pattern, we will need to be alert and flexible if things change.
The group said they would be on the lookout for:
• Increases in hospitalization rates in those who got the bivalent booster
• Other evidence of waning protection of bivalent vaccines
• New variants with greater immune escape from current vaccines
As the COVID landscape changes, the recommendations might change.
The group emphasized that simplified recommendations may increase uptake and decrease vaccine “fatigue”. Sadly, only 40.8% of Americans aged 65+ have gotten the bivalent vaccine, so we still have lots of room for improvement with existing shots.
BOTTOM LINE: For now, ACIP supports a fall/annual booster campaign but with the flexibility to adjust based on new data, especially for more vulnerable groups.
Stay safe, Stay well.
Those Nerdy Girls