COVID boosters authorized for more adults

Casey S. Elliott
Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Coronavirus booster shots are now available to more adults than previously authorized, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials decided late last week.

The agencies had already approved booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for adults aged 65 or older, or those over 18 with underlying medical conditions, or those who live and work in high-risk settings; and boosters of the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine for anyone 18 years or older. The new decision authorized boosters for Moderna and Pfizer, for adults aged 50 or older, those over 18 that have underlying medical conditions or live or work in high-risk settings. The agencies allowed people 18 or older to opt into getting a booster if they wished, based on their individual risk.

The approvals came while the pandemic continues to spread worldwide, with some officials stating they expect the disease to become endemic in the next year. A virus becomes “endemic” when it is like any other virus circulating in the community, such as the seasonal flu. The pandemic has not yet hit that point, though National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci recently predicted that could happen in the next year, helped with continued vaccination.

Beaverhead County added 34 new cases in the past week. As of Monday, the county had 31 active and 1,554 total COVID cases counted since the start of the pandemic last year. No new deaths were added in the last week. New cases were recorded in people aged 0-89, with the majority of cases in people in their 70s.

The county remained at 53% of eligible residents vaccinated, which now includes residents above age 5.

The pace of new cases has slowed, though not disappeared county- and statewide. As of Monday, Montana listed 188,505 total cases and 2,567 deaths from the virus, adding 2,298 new cases and 54 new deaths in the past week. The state remained at 50% vaccinated, and the nation pulled further ahead at 59.1%. There have been more than 47.5 million COVID-19 cases and over 770,400 deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic.