The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has backed an additional updated COVID-19 booster dose for those at least 65 years old and immunocompromised people.

The CDC said in a release on Wednesday the new guidance will grant more flexibility for health care providers to administer additional COVID-19 booster doses to immunocompromised individuals as needed.

The agency backed the guidelines after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday moved to simplify the recommended COVID-19 vaccine schedule, deciding a single dose of the bivalent booster vaccine designed for the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants of the coronavirus is enough for most people. 

The CDC said its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices did not vote at Wednesday’s meeting, but members backed the recommendations.

The release stated that the original monovalent COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are no longer recommended for use in the U.S., and everyone 6 years and older should receive a bivalent dose regardless of whether they received a monovalent dose.

But the agency said those ages 6 and older who have already received a bivalent dose do not need to receive any additional vaccine unless they are at least 65 years old or immunocompromised. 

The FDA said on Tuesday that it planned to make additional decisions on the composition of the COVID-19 vaccine for the fall strain in June. 

Under the FDA’s guidance, people 65 and older who have already received a bivalent shot can receive a second dose if at least four months have passed since their first. People who are immunocompromised can receive a single additional booster or multiple ones if at least two months have passed based on the “discretion” of their medical provider. 

Children between 6 months and 5 years old are still eligible for a multiple-dose vaccine schedule under the FDA’s guidance. A two-dose version of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine is approved for children 6 months to 5 years old, while a three-dose version of Pfizer’s bivalent vaccine is approved for those 6 months to 4 years old. 

The updated guidance comes as the COVID-19 public health emergency is set to end next month.

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