February 28, 2022 — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its vaccine recommendations on February 22 to say younger males age 12 to 39 should consider waiting longer between doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to reduce the risk of myocarditis — an inflammation of the heart muscle.
“While absolute risk remains small”, some studies show “the relative risk for myocarditis is higher for males ages 12-39 years, and this risk might be reduced by extending the interval between the first and second dose,” the agency said. The CDC cited studies further showed in adolescents and adults alike, peak antibody responses and mRNA vaccine effectiveness may be increased with an interval longer than four weeks between the first and second doses.
Howbeit, the shorter interval (three weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech and four weeks for Moderna) between the first and second doses of the mRNA vaccines remains the recommended interval for adults 65 years and older, people who are immunocompromised, and others at high risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
The updated guidance most notably affects younger not fully vaccinated males, those who have received one or fewer jabs. The CDC estimates by age group the following percentages of American males not fully vaccinated: 12 to 17yrs (45%), 18-24yrs (42%), 25-39yrs (37.6%).
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Updated: February 28, 2022