US CDC: All Adults Should Get Their Booster Shot

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The US Centers for Disease Control recently strengthened their advice for Covid booster shots in the face of a concerning new variant.

All adults should get Covid-19 booster shots as soon as they’re eligible, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on November 29, adopting a notably more forceful tone than in its recommendations issued just a few weeks ago.

The new guidance was issued shortly after the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was detected and identified in southern Africa. The variant’s numerous mutations suggests a possibility that the virus could evade the immune system or spread more easily than previous variants have done; however, the real impact Omicron will have is not currently known, and it will take time to determine the real-world implications of this variant.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director | Image Credit: CBS News

“Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot… when they are six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series,” the CDC’s director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, said in a statement. Malaysia has not authorised the Moderna vaccine for use here, but Pfizer’s has been widely administered.

The Ministry of Health Malaysia has been providing booster shots for anyone 18 and older (and recommending that the jab be taken), but Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin indicated that in response to the emergence of the Omicron variant, the government will amplify its messaging to get more people to take their booster shots when eligible. He also added that Malaysia would ramp up its genome sequencing capacity to help detect cases involving the Omicron variant. So far, no evidence suggests the variant is present in Malaysia.

Booster jabs are now officially advised for all adults, according to the CDC | Image Credit: The Conversation

For now, the CDC’s advice should be considered, and it’s probable that Malaysia’s authorities will eventually follow suit in recommending booster shots to all adults, though they have not yet taken that step. As “scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant,” Walensky said, “I strongly encourage adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to vaccinate the children and teens in their families as well because strong immunity will likely prevent serious illness.”

In addition to vaccines, Walensky and other experts said, tried-and-true prevention strategies continue to be effective, such as masking, more testing and physical distancing.

That’s good advice no matter what country you live in.

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