Updated COVID-19 vaccines recommended for everyone 6 months and older

Vials of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent booster are pictured at a free vaccine clinic at the Sanderson Community Center in Taylorsville on Nov. 9, 2022.
Vials of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent booster are pictured at a free vaccine clinic at the Sanderson Community Center in Taylorsville on Nov. 9, 2022. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Everyone 6 months and older should get an updated COVID-19 shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday.

The shots could be available by the end of the week following Monday’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration, and Tuesday’s recommendation by a CDC advisory panel and final sign-off by CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.

“We have more tools than ever to prevent the worst outcomes from COVID-19,” Cohen said in a news release. “CDC is now recommending updated COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months and older to better protect you and your loved ones.”

The federal government’s decision to offer the new shots comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations and other indicators have been climbing around the country and in Utah for several weeks.


The only member of the CDC’s independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to vote against the recommendation was Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio, CNN reported.

“I just want to be clear that I am not against this vaccine,” Sanchez said. “The limited data that are available does look great. We have extremely limited data on children … and I think that needs to be made available … to the parents.”

Another committee member representing the American Medical Association, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, said what she heard at the meeting “makes me very confident that this new vaccine will help protect us from COVID” and pushed for the universal recommendation.

“There is no group that clearly has no risk from COVID,” Fryhofer, a professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said, according to CNN. “And even children and adults with no underlying conditions can still experience severe illness due to COVID.”

What is expected to become an annual dose of COVID-19 vaccine for most Americans has been updated since the last booster shot was released a year ago, to target the XBB.1.5 variant known as Kraken that dominated cases in the spring and early summer.


The new formulation is still expected to be effective against newer versions of the virus, including EG.5 or Eris and BA.2.86 or Pirola, since most of the COVID-19 now circulating is related to the omicron subvariant responsible for a record-breaking surge in 2022.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci a former top adviser on COVID-19 for two presidents, said he hoped the updated vaccine would be widely available rather than limited to those most vulnerable to the virus, the elderly and those with certain underlying conditions.

In an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Fauci, now a professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., said he didn’t want to get ahead of the CDC’s deliberations.

“But I believe we should give the choice to people that are not in the high-risk groups, to have the vaccine available for them,” he said. “We have experience with this type of vaccine in billions of people. It’s a safe vaccine.”