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- American medical scientist
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday strengthened its recommendation for all adults to get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, citing the risks of the new omicron variant.
While booster shots were approved for all adults earlier this month, the previous guidance for younger adults was only that they "may" get a booster if they wanted to. Now, the guidance has been fortified to say all adults "should" get a booster.
"Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
"The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19," she added.
It is not yet known whether omicron is more transmissible, more severe or to what extent it evades the protection from vaccines, but its mutations have put scientists on edge.
President Biden emphasized vaccinations as the main response to the new variant in an address earlier on Monday.
"If you are vaccinated but still worried about the new variant, get your booster," Biden said. "If you aren't vaccinated, get that shot, go get that first shot."
Booster shots have been a subject of debate among experts for months, with some saying they are not needed.
The Biden administration originally planned to roll out boosters for all adults in September, but a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that month rejected a recommendation for boosters for all, instead initially limiting them to older and high risk people.