U.S. regulators on Tuesday approved another COVID-19 booster vaccine for people who are elderly or have weak immune systems so they can better protect themselves this spring, while taking steps to make vaccinations easier for the rest of the population.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that people 65 and older can receive another booster as long as it has been four months since they received the bivalent vaccine, which targets types of the omicron variant.

And most of those with weakened immune systems can receive another bivalent booster vaccine at least two months later, with other doses in the future at the discretion of the physician. For everyone else, regardless of whether it is a first vaccine or a booster, the FDA said the original versions of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are obsolete and will no longer be used. Instead, those who receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine will receive the new version that targets the omicron. For most people, if this is their first vaccine, a single bivalent dose will suffice.

Those who received the original vaccine but have not received the omicron version will be able to receive that new version, but the agency will decide in the summer whether young, healthy people will be able to receive the second bivalent booster.

“At this stage of the pandemic, the data collected support simplifying the use” of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, FDA vaccine chief Peter Marks, M.D., said in a statement. “The agency believes this strategy will help encourage future vaccinations.”

Officials in Britain and Canada have issued similar recommendations, offering an extra booster in the spring for vulnerable populations. Many high-risk Americans who received their last dose in the fall have been wondering when they can get another.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will have to approve the new series of booster vaccines. Its advisers will meet Wednesday.

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