CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Changes
Posted on April 20, 2023 by Kari Everson
On April 19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released simplified vaccine recommendations. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met yesterday to discuss updated COVID-19 vaccine changes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended emergency use authorizations (EUA) for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech products earlier this week.
Bivalent vaccines will replace monovalent vaccines
Moving forward, the bivalent formulation will be used for all immunization doses, including the initial vaccination and subsequent boosters. The original (monovalent) COVID-19 mRNA vaccines produced by Moderna and Pfizer are no longer authorized for use in the United States. Alternatives are still available for those who cannot or choose not to receive an mRNA vaccine, including the Novavax protein subunit vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen viral vector vaccine. The EUAs did not address the use or additional doses of either Novavax or Johnson & Johnson vaccinations.
Additional optional booster
Older adults and immunocompromised individuals are at greater risk for poor health outcomes if they become infected with SARS-CoV-2. The CDC updated vaccine recommendations to include an additional bivalent vaccine dose for those ages 65 years and older and for individuals and those who are immunocompromised. It is important to note that the additional COVID-19 vaccine booster, while approved, is not required. Authorization of an additional booster for this population gives medical providers more flexibility in administering more doses if needed.
Future discussions for COVID-19 vaccines
The FDA is scheduled to convene a meeting of their Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) in June to discuss potential updates or changes to COVID-19 vaccination. Similarly to the FDA process for flu vaccines, the agency will ask for input from VRBPAC on SARS-CoV-2 variants most likely to circulate in the coming year. It will determine whether to switch to an annual immunization schedule.