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The Food and Drug Administration has given its stamp of approval on a second COVID booster shot from either Pfizer or Moderna for those aged 50 and up or for “certain immunocompromised individuals.”

The decision comes as COVID cases dropped following the winter surge that took over the nation, but Stealth Omicron (aka COVID variant BA. 2) continues to spread and experts estimate it’ll soon become the dominant variant in the United States, according to CNBC News.

For those eligible and up-to-date with their Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccinations, receiving the second booster shot against the virus will be their fourth dose.

The second booster must come at least four months after those eligible received their first booster shot of any approved COVID vaccine.

“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals.” 

“Additionally, the data show that an initial booster dose is critical in helping to protect all adults from the potentially severe outcomes of COVID-19,” the FDA official noted, adding, “So, those who have not received their initial booster dose are strongly encouraged to do so.”

As a press release issued via the federal agency detailed, the FDA will continue evaluating “data and information as it becomes available when considering the potential use of a second booster dose in other age groups.” 

The FDA decided to authorize the second booster for immunocompromised individuals and people over 50 without receiving input from its vaccine advisory committee.

However, the federal agency is set to meet with the committee on April 6 to discuss what the future of the booster shot rollout will look like in the U.S., CNBC News additionally reported. 

Currently, “about two-thirds of Americans are fully vaccinated, and half of those eligible for a first booster haven’t gotten one,” the Associated Press shared in further insight.

To read the FDA’s full news release, click here.

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