Additional COVID-19 vaccine dose for older adults draws criticism

The CDC recommended an additional dose of the updated monovalent COVID-19 vaccine for adults 65 and older. Some took issue with the recommendation, claiming that government officials were targeting seniors before the election. A congressperson accused the CDC’s immunizations advisory committee of corruption and financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. 

Risk level: High

Recommendation: False claims about the reasons behind the CDC’s vaccination recommendations may discourage older adult patients from receiving an additional COVID-19 vaccine this spring, especially when the false claims are coming from a government official. Talking points may emphasize that the CDC’s recommendation is based on research showing that older adults are the most vulnerable population to serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Last year, people 65 and older made up over 85 percent of all U.S. COVID-19 deaths. The 2023-2024 monovalent vaccine dramatically decreased the risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization in high-risk adults. Receiving an additional dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine this spring is an effective way that older adults can protect themselves from the virus.