CDC advisers mull booster strategy: 4 notes

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met April 20 to discuss the nation's COVID-19 booster strategy, according to CNBC.

Four things to know:

1. The committee, made up of independent vaccine experts, discussed when the U.S. should recommend additional booster doses for the general public. At present, second booster doses of Moderna and Pfizer's vaccines are only authorized for those 50 and older. 

2. Most experts expressed hesitancy at widely endorsing second boosters right now, considering protection against infection declines rapidly over time with the current generation of vaccines.

3. Some experts said repeatedly deploying boosters to prevent infections isn't a sustainable public health strategy and could undermine public confidence in the vaccines. 

"I'm just very concerned about us meeting and considering additional doses for a smaller and smaller return and creating an impression that we don't have a very effective vaccination program," said Beth Bell, MD, ACIP member, a clinical professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health in Seattle and the former director of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. 

4. The meeting comes several weeks after the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee met to develop a strategy for selecting new COVID-19 vaccine formulations. The FDA would need to determine which strain or strains a new booster should target by June at the latest, so drugmakers have enough time to manufacture the shots before a potential rise in cases this fall.

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