CDC gives Moderna COVID-19 vaccine full approval

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 18 and older hours after an influential advisory committee gave the shots the green light.

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Update 5:15 p.m. EST Feb. 4: In a statement released Friday, CDC officials said the agency’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, endorsed an earlier recommendation made by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“We now have another fully approved COVID-19 vaccine,” Walensky said. “If you have been waiting for approval before getting vaccinated, now is the time to join the nearly 212 million Americans who have already completed their primary series. CDC continues to recommend that people remain up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including getting a booster shot when eligible.”

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As of Thursday morning, more than 75% of the U.S. population – 250.7 million people – has gotten at least one dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, CDC data shows. Sixty-four percent of Americans, or 212.4 million people, have been fully vaccinated, and 42% of those who have been fully vaccinated have gotten booster shots, according to the CDC.

>> Related: FDA grants full approval of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

Original report: The advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has unanimously voted to give the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine full approval.

The Food and Drug Administration made the same determination earlier this week.

Friday’s CDC vote was 13-0, stating that “The Moderna COVID-19 BLA approved vaccine (Spikevax, 2-dose primary series) is recommended for persons 18 years of age and older,” CNN reported.

The committee had heard about the FDA’s approval of Moderna’s application and the latest safety data.

There were no new concerns, but the vaccine had been linked to rare cases of anaphylaxis and myocarditis. The risk of the health issues is low for myocarditis but is greater among adolescent and young adult men after a second dose, CNN reported.

The Moderna vaccine has been dispensed under an emergency use authorization, CNN reported.

The vaccine won’t have the full endorsement until CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gives her final approval.

About a quarter of the country has still not received a vaccine, Bloomberg reported.

According to the latest data, the number of COVID-19 cases has fallen in 49 of 50 states, The Associated Press reported. But the pandemic has killed about 899,000 people, or about an average of 2,400 a day. The numbers of deaths are rising in 35 states, but that is attributed to the time between being infected and when a person dies, the AP reported.

The only state where cases haven’t fallen is Maine.

The number of people hospitalized in the country because of COVID has fallen 15% since mid-January to about 124,000, according to the AP.

A new early-warning program that tests sewage is backing up the data, according to the CDC.

Both Moderna and its competitor Pfizer are working on variant-specific vaccines that will target the omicron version of the virus. A subvariant of omicron, called BA.2, has also been found in at least 57 countries, including the U.S., Bloomberg reported.

But both companies, which have added a booster shot to the recommended dosage, say that three-shot series will be effective against the variants, Bloomberg reported.

The CDC recommends that a booster be given at least five months after either the second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or two months after getting the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.