photo of senior woman receiving vaccination

Feb. 29, 2024 – The CDC has advised that people ages 65 and older should get a COVID-19 booster vaccination 4 months after their last one. The recommendation intends to restore protection in older people in advance of yet another summertime COVID surge.

 In a news release, the agency stated that, “Data continues to show the importance of vaccination to protect those most at risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19.” It noted that an extra dose of the updated vaccine may restore protection that has waned since a dose received last fall.

People aged 65 and older are still the among the most vulnerable to severe cases of the illness. This group made up more than half of COVID hospitalizations in the last quarter of 2023.

As of mid-February, 2024, 22% of U.S. adults had received the updated vaccine made available last fall. Public health officials have expressed disappointment in the low uptake. Older people have been more likely to get the shots, with 43% of people ages 75 and older getting the latest jab. In contrast, younger people are mostly forgoing the shots.

“Today’s recommendation allows older adults to receive an additional dose of this season’s COVID-19 vaccine to provide added protection,” says CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH. “Most COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations last year were among people 65 years and older. An additional vaccine dose can provide added protection that may have decreased over time for those at highest risk.”

COVID stats showed a downward trend during the last week of February, 2024. At that time, about 8% of tests reported positive and there were about 19,000 new hospital admissions.

 Hospitalizations due to COVID dropped from 2.5 million in 2021 to 900,000 in 2023. There have been 6.8 million hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic, and nearly 1.2 million people have died. During most of 2023, people ages 65 and older were the most likely of those hospitalized with the illness to die. A recent CDC pandemic update said 88% of people who died in the hospital of COVID-19 during the first 7 months of 2023 were age 65 or older.




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CDC: “ACIP Recommendations,” “Older Adults Now Able to Receive Additional Dose of Updated COVID-19 Vaccine,” “The Changing Threat of COVID-19,” COVID Data Tracker.”