On March 29, 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized secondary booster doses of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for older adults and certain immunocompromised individuals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also updated its recommendations following the approval. The updated CDC recommendations acknowledge the increased risk of severe COVID-19 for the elderly, those over the age of 50 with underlying conditions, and are given based on available data on vaccine and booster effectiveness and FDA recommendations.
The FDA amended the emergency use authorizations with the following:
- Individuals 50 years of age and older, who received their first booster of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months prior, may receive a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
- Individuals 12 years of age and older with certain immunocompromises, who received their first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months prior, may receive a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
- Individuals 18 years of age and older, who received their first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months prior, may receive a secondary booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of it, AI/ANs were 3.5 times more likely to test positive, 3.2 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.2 times more likely to die due to COVID-19. Due to NCUIH advocacy, UIOs were included in initial vaccine rollout plans and efforts. NCUIH also partnered with Native American Lifelines – Baltimore and the University of Maryland to create a vaccine clinic for urban AI/ANs in the DC area.