In what is certain to be seen as a second blow against COVID-19 vaccines in as many days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly mulling a proposed change to the vaccines to reduce the risk of heart inflammation for immunocompromised people.
The CDC is considering changes to vaccine guidance that would lengthen the amount of time between doses, according to Fox News, which noted that immunocompromised people are advised to get four shots and don’t always respond as well to the vaccines. This update would apply to people ages 18 and up who receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and people age 12 and up who received Pfizer.
Myocarditis is a rare side effect associated with the Pfizer and Moderna shots, most commonly occurring with young men. The risk of heart inflammation is lowered if the vaccines are given eight weeks apart, according to health officials.
“CDC guidance suggests this group should receive three vaccine doses within two months and a fourth dose around five months after the third,” Fox News reported. “The CDC is now suggesting that immunocompromised people should get their fourth shot as soon as three months after the third.
Dr. Sara Oliver, a CDC official, told a panel of outside advisors on Friday that an extended interval appears to reduce the risk of myocarditis, and that the risk of heart inflammation is lowered if the vaccines are given eight weeks apart.
The CDC estimates that there are around 33 million people in the U.S., between the ages of 12 and 39, who remain unvaccinated — it’s not clear how many of these people have already contracted COVID-19 and have natural immunity, which some studies have suggested in more effective.
The vaccine guidance change comes on the heels of an Israeli doctor claiming that the majority of serious hospitalizations at the Tel Aviv hospital where he works have been vaccinated twice and have also received a booster — it’s noteworthy to point out that an estimated 98.7 percent of the Israeli population is believed to have been vaccinated, according to Reuters.
“Right now, most of our severe cases are vaccinated. They had at least three injections,” Prof. Yaakov Jerris, the head of the COVID department at at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, also known as the Ichilov Hospital, said in an interview last week. “Between seventy and eighty percent of the serious cases are vaccinated. So, the vaccine has no significance regarding severe illness, which is why just twenty to twenty-five percent of our patients are unvaccinated.”
While this is one hospital, the claim has prompted the observation that if this proves to be a widespread occurrence the vaccine “narrative has completely collapsed” — that narrative being that while jabs may not prevent a person from getting the virus and transmitting it to others, it helps prevent serious illness and death.
The panel voted unanimously to recommend the Moderna vaccine on Friday, NBC News reported, the vote serving as a formal sign-off after the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval earlier in the week.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, endorsed the committee’s recommendation later in the afternoon while pushing people to get jabbed.
“We now have another fully approved Covid-19 vaccine,” Walensky said in a statement, according to NBC News. “If you have been waiting for approval before getting vaccinated, now is the time to join the nearly 212 million Americans who have already completed their primary series.”
Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to complete a rolling request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization soon for to vaccinate children under the age of 5 in the United States — there are an estimated 18 million children in the age group. In December, Pfizer announced that it added a third dose to the primary vaccine regimen for young children after the original two-dose series did not provide the expected immunity in 2- to 5-year-olds.
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