The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending new vaccines for adults and kids in 2024, according to its latest annual guidelines finalized Jan. 11. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a collection of medical and public-health experts who regularly review evidence and research about vaccines, compiled the new guidelines.
Like it does every year, ACIP recommends that American adults receive an annual flu shot and several standard vaccinations, such as those for chickenpox (if they haven’t had it already) and tetanus. For infants and children, the pediatric immunization plan that includes shots such as the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine remains mostly the same.
However, the 2024 schedule has some notable changes. Here are the vaccines newly recommended for Americans.
The latest COVID-19 vaccine (for kids and adults)
All adults and children 6 months or older should receive a dose of an updated COVID-19 vaccine in 2024, ACIP says. The most current shot targets the Omicron variant XBB.15, replacing the bivalent mRNA booster previously recommended on the vaccination schedule. This updated vaccine protects against evolving strains including the JN.1 variant surging in the U.S.
More From TIME
Low COVID-19 vaccination rates are a particularly concerning issue. So far, fewer than 20% of adults in the U.S.—and just 8% of eligible kids—have gotten the shot. The updated COVID-19 vaccine is highly protective against hospitalization, serious illness, and death. People vaccinated before contracting COVID-19 are also four times less likely to develop Long COVID, though we now know that the risk also goes up with repeat infections.
Missing from the document is a plan for increasing vaccine uptake. In a new editorial published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, a group of physicians from City University of New York (CUNY) argue that the absence of any sort of uptake strategy within the CDC’s annual document feels like a glaring omission so many years into the pandemic. It “demonstrates that CDC has not moved sufficiently beyond merely providing information to clinicians and the public to persuasive communication,” the CUNY group writes.
Mpox vaccine (for some adults)
2024 is the first time the government is formally recommending the mpox vaccine on an annual schedule for those in high-risk groups, which includes certain members of the LGBTQ community who may have been exposed to the virus formerly called monkeypox. Mpox cases in the U.S. have remained low since peaking in August 2022, with fewer than 10 new cases per day on average, but the CDC stresses that the two-dose vaccination plays an important role in keeping case numbers down. Those who have already received two doses of the mpox vaccine do not need further vaccination at this time, the agency says.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) shot (for some kids and adults)
Pfizer’s new RSV vaccine, Abrysvo, received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in May 2023. The CDC recommends it for two groups: people who are nearing the end of a pregnancy during RSV season (between September and January), and anyone over age 60. Seniors also have the option of taking a different new RSV vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline called Arexvy. Pfizer is currently testing Abrysvo in children ages 2 to 17 at high risk for RSV.
A different RSV shot is also newly recommended for infants up to eight months old if their mothers did not receive an RSV vaccine during pregnancy. The monoclonal antibody nirsevimab—brand name: Beyfortus—was approved by the FDA in July 2023, and recent studies have shown that it’s effective at keeping kids out of the hospital.
A combination meningitis vaccine (for some kids and adults)
Pfizer’s new vaccine Penbraya, which was approved by the FDA in October, protects against the five most common variations of meningococcal disease affecting adolescents and young adults globally. 2024 marks its first appearance on the vaccination schedules for some children and adults; doctors are now being asked to consider it as an alternative for patients 10 years and older who would otherwise receive the two meningitis vaccines currently in use, which cover the same five variations together. Penbraya is given as two doses six months apart.
View original article
Contributor: Haley Weiss