The independent vaccine advisers of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 13-1 to recommend updated COVID-19 vaccines for all Americans aged 6 months and older.
These recommendations were made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and await approval from the CDC director, Dr Mandy Cohen, according to CNN.
The Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices, known as ACIP, serves as a council of seasoned experts offering counsel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding their vaccine recommendations.
To put these recommendations into action, Dr Mandy Cohen, the CDC's director, must provide her official approval before the vaccines can be distributed to the public. During their recent meeting on Tuesday, the committee received news that these new vaccines would swiftly become accessible at pharmacies within a mere 48 hours of her endorsement.
The committee's endorsement ensures that the vaccines will be covered by both public and private insurance plans. The move underscores the commitment to making these vital vaccines widely accessible and affordable to all Americans.
The updated vaccines are designed to protect against the current COVID-19 variants and come at a time of increasing hospitalizations and deaths, although they remain lower than the winter peak.
Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines were approved, while Novavax's vaccine is under FDA review. ACIP recommended any authorized or approved XBB-containing vaccine, eliminating the need for further meetings.
The committee advised that everyone aged 5 and older should receive at least one updated mRNA vaccine dose this year. Children aged 6 months to 4 years should get two doses of Moderna or three doses of Pfizer, with one being the updated 2023 shot.
Moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals should have at least three doses, with one being updated. Seniors' need for an additional dose is yet to be decided.
These vaccines will be available through commercial markets, with prices disclosed as $120 to $130 per dose. The Affordable Care Act ensures vaccines are provided at no cost to those with commercial insurance, while the Bridge Access Programme offers free vaccines to uninsured individuals.
Low-income children can access free vaccines through the Vaccines for Children programme.
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