U.S. Health Officials Urge Older Adults to Receive Latest COVID-19 Vaccine

Amid ongoing concerns about COVID-19, U.S. health officials are emphasizing the importance of older adults receiving an updated vaccine shot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued guidance urging Americans aged 65 and above to consider getting an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose.

CDC Director Mandy Cohen emphasized the reasoning behind this new guidance, citing statistics that show most COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalizations occurred among individuals aged 65 and older. She stressed that an extra vaccine dose can offer added protection to those at highest risk.

Even for older adults who have already received the updated vaccine shot introduced last fall, the CDC suggests that an additional dose can provide increased protection. However, individuals who received the previous updated shot should wait at least four months before getting the latest dose.

This decision by the CDC follows extensive debate within the medical community regarding the necessity of additional COVID-19 shots for older individuals. While some doctors argue that the previous shots remain effective for at least six months, health officials highlight the potential decrease in vaccine-activated defenses over time, particularly in older populations.

Despite differing opinions, the CDC’s recommendation underscores the continued threat of COVID-19, especially to older adults and those with underlying medical conditions. Data indicates ongoing hospitalizations and deaths from the virus, with individuals aged 65 and older experiencing the highest rates of severe illness.

To encourage broader acceptance of the latest guidance, some members of the CDC advisory group emphasized the importance of using the term “should” in the recommendations. By doing so, they aim to facilitate easier access to the additional shots for older adults through healthcare providers and pharmacies.

In conclusion, as the government authorizes a new COVID-19 vaccine based on updated virus variants, health officials stress the importance of older adults staying vigilant and considering additional vaccine doses to bolster their protection against the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

This news piece is based on reports from The Associated Press and Reuters, adapted for VOA Learning English by Bryan Lynn.

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