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New CDC guidelines recommend additional COVID-19 shot for older adults

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If you received the COVID-19 vaccine in the fall chances are your protection has waned, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Protection.

The agency is now recommending that individuals 65 and older receive an additional dose of the most recent COVID-19 vaccine to boost immunity.

This recommendation also underscores the increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in older adults and the effectiveness of the current vaccine.

“For people who have not been recently infected, or it's been greater than six months, we do know that protective antibodies do go down over time,” said Dr. Ann Falsey, co-director URMC’s Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit.

Falsey also said data analysis shows that older people, and people with underlying conditions, have the highest rates of becoming seriously ill.

She said the benefits of getting an additional vaccine dose outweigh the risk, particularly for the most vulnerable.

“The aim really is to prevent serious illness to where people don’t end up in the hospital,” Falsey said.

Data from the CDC shows that between October and December of 2023, people ages 65 and older accounted for more than half of COVID-19 hospitalizations nationally.

Falsey said the number of people in Monroe County hospitalized with COVID-19 remains moderately steady.

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.