What We’re Reading: CDC Recommends Booster; Vaccine Skepticism Declining; STI Screening Recommendations Updated

The CDC says yes to COVID-19 booster shots; a new survey shows vaccine hesitancy and skepticism are falling; the US Preventive Services Task Force updates screening suggestions for 2 sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

CDC’s ACIP Unanimous on COVID-19 Boosters, for Most at High Risk

Following the FDA’s authorization of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster doses for adults 65 years and older, as well as those at high risk for SARS-CoV-2, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) yesterday followed suit and took that decision several steps further, according to The Hill. In a 15-0 vote, the committee said Americans 65 and older and those in long-term care facilities should get boosters, a 13-2 vote approved boosters for persons aged 50 to 64 years with certain high-risk conditions, and a 9-6 vote gave the go-ahead to an extra dose for individuals aged 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions—which the CDC still needs to determine. Meanwhile, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said frontline health care workers aged 18 to 64 years may get boosters, overruling ACIP’s 9-6 vote against that recommendation. All boosters would be administered at least 6 months after the primary series of shots, with individuals risks/benefits being the determining factor for those aged 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions and 18- to 64-year-old front line workers.

Vaccine Hesitancy, Skepticism Fall Globally

New survey data from Morning Consult show that around the world, skepticism toward COVID-19 vaccination has declined by an average 16 percentage points in countries that include Canada, Australia, and Brazil. A 7-percentage-point decline was seen in the United States alone. The most marked decrease of 23 percentage points, for surveys conducted September 14 to 20, was seen among adults aged 18 to 34 years. For those who remain skeptical on getting a COVID-19 vaccination, their most commons reasons are adverse effects, the speed of vaccine development and the clinical trial process, lack of belief in the vaccines’ effectiveness, lack of trust in the vaccine manufacturers, having a self-perceived small risk of getting COVID-19, and being against vaccines in general.

Infection Risk Shapes New USPSTF Screening Recommendations

Women 24 years and younger and those 25 years and older should get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, respectively, if they are considered at high risk of infection, reports JAMA. The most recent US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation for these 2 sexually transmitted infections was 2014, and this update is based on a review of 27 studies that covered more than 179,000 individuals. Chlamydia screening, in particular, was associated with a 40% reduced risk of pelvic inflammatory disease compared with no screening. The recommendations for men were not updated, based on insufficient evidence.