December 11, 2023

Sylvester Fisher gets a flu shot from pharmacist Patricia Penal during an event hosted by the Chicago Department of Public Health at the Southwest Senior Center in Chicago, Illinois, Sept. 9, 2022. These vaccines are offered alongside the pneumonia vaccine and the recently authorized COVID-19 booster vaccine, which protects against the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the newer omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 during campaigns. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Scott Olson | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an additional dose of Pfizer and modernA Covid-19 vaccine targeting the omicron variant of the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

Seniors 65 or older who have already been vaccinated against the omicron BA.5 subvariant are now eligible for a second dose at least four months after their last dose, According to FDA. People with weakened immune systems may receive another omicron injection at least two months after their last dose, with additional injections at the doctor’s discretion.

Unvaccinated children aged 6 months to 5 years can now receive the full two-dose series of Moderna omicron vaccine. Children 6 months to 4 years old can receive three doses of the Pfizer vaccine against the omicron.

Children aged 5 years can receive two doses of Moderna or a single dose of Pfizer.

Children under five who have already started a series of vaccinations with the old Covid vaccine against the original strain of the virus can complete their course with the omicron vaccine, though how many doses they get will depend on whether they get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Even though the burden of the pandemic has eased considerably, the coronavirus still kills more than 1,300 people a week, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On average, about 1,600 people are still hospitalized with COVID-19 each day, according to the public health agency.

“Covid-19 remains a very real risk to many people, and we encourage individuals to consider timely vaccination, including the bivalent Covid-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA division responsible for vaccines.

The FDA first approved the omicron BA.5 injection last August, but that subtype has long since been superseded by a version of the omicron called XBB.1.5. In June, the agency may update the variants the Covid vaccine targets ahead of the fall respiratory virus season.

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