US may roll out 2nd booster recommendation within weeks

The White House may authorize a second COVID-19 booster dose for people 65 and older within a few weeks, four sources familiar with the matter told Politico

Health officials are considering the recommendation amid concerns about a potential increase in COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron subvariant BA.2, which currently accounts for nearly 35 percent of new infections nationwide. 

At present, the FDA only recommends people who are immunocompromised to get a second booster. However, some health officials are advocating for the agency to broaden eligibility by the first week of April to allow time for a vaccination campaign before a potential surge. The FDA's top vaccine official, Peter Marks, MD, PhD, is among the officials advocating for this strategy, sources said.

Other officials have questioned whether a second booster is needed yet and argue that the FDA should withhold any new recommendations until the agency's vaccine advisory committee meets April 6 to discuss the topic. 

Top officials are also waiting on more data from the CDC and Israel about the effectiveness of a fourth COVID-19 vaccine in various groups and populations, one source said.

The White House declined Politico's request for comment. An FDA spokesperson said the agency will review drugmakers' booster authorization requests "as expeditiously as possible using our thorough and science-based approach." 

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