New updates on COVID-19 vaccine recommendations

This week, new COVID-19 vaccine recommendations have come in from an expert committee advising the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11 year-olds. These new recommendations would make nearly 28 million children eligible for the vaccine.

According to the New York Times, in the coming days, the FDA is likely to follow through on its recommendation, a motion agreed upon by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These potential new measures would likely help increase trends seen recently of shrinking numbers of infections and deaths, according to the New York Times.

The Biden administration hopes to make these vaccines available to children by the start of November.

According to the Washington Post, further recommendations from the CDC state that people with weakened immune systems who received the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccines can get a fourth shot. This includes the CDC’s statement that booster shots may be mixed for eligible individuals. This means that no matter which vaccine was first received, consumers would be allowed to choose from any of the three boosters now authorized in the U.S.: Pfizer-BioNtech, Modena and Johnson & Johnson.

The nation’s top public health official endorsed this recommendation, with the panel further recommending additional doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for millions of Americans, according to the Washington Post. The panel specifically advised booster shots for vulnerable populations, including reasons related to health, age or occupation.

For educational institutes, the CDC continues to recommend vaccines as “the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic.” The CDC further advises universal indoor masking regardless of vaccine status, testing of those vaccinated with known exposure after 3-5 days regardless of symptoms and three feet of continued social distance between students to reduce transmissions.