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MMWR - Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report ; 71(5152):1625-1630, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2204208


Monovalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, designed against the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2, successfully reduced COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality in the United States and globally (1,2). However, vaccine effectiveness (VE) against COVID-19-associated hospitalization has declined over time, likely related to a combination of factors, including waning immunity and, with the emergence of the Omicron variant and its sublineages, immune evasion (3). To address these factors, on September 1, 2022, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended a bivalent COVID-19 mRNA booster (bivalent booster) dose, developed against the spike protein from ancestral SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron BA.4/BA.5 sublineages, for persons who had completed at least a primary COVID-19 vaccination series (with or without monovalent booster doses) >=2 months earlier (4). Data on the effectiveness of a bivalent booster dose against COVID-19 hospitalization in the United States are lacking, including among older adults, who are at highest risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness. During September 8-November 30, 2022, the Investigating Respiratory Viruses in the Acutely Ill (IVY) Network assessed effectiveness of a bivalent booster dose received after >=2 doses of monovalent mRNA vaccine against COVID-19-associated hospitalization among immunocompetent adults aged >=65 years. When compared with unvaccinated persons, VE of a bivalent booster dose received >=7 days before illness onset (median = 29 days) against COVID-19-associated hospitalization was 84%. Compared with persons who received >=2 monovalent-only mRNA vaccine doses, relative VE of a bivalent booster dose was 73%. These early findings show that a bivalent booster dose provided strong protection against COVID-19-associated hospitalization in older adults and additional protection among persons with previous monovalent-only mRNA vaccination. All eligible persons, especially adults aged >=65 years, should receive a bivalent booster dose to maximize protection against COVID-19 hospitalization this winter season. Additional strategies to prevent respiratory illness, such as masking in indoor public spaces, should also be considered, especially in areas where COVID-19 community levels are high (4,5).