Senior woman getting a vaccine booster shot from her doctor in her home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Updates: FDA Panel Endorses Lower-Dose Moderna Booster, Fauci Supports Celebrating Halloween This Fall

Senior woman getting a vaccine booster shot from her doctor in her home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At least 241.7 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday, October 18, 2021, including more than 4.9 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 45.8 million positive COVID-19 cases and more than 745,000 deaths. Source:

At least 6.68 billion individual doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 408 million in the United States. Source: GitHub

FDA panel endorses lower-dose Moderna booster

Certain Americans who received a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months ago should also receive a half-dose booster to increase protection against the coronavirus, say U.S. health advisors.

According to a report by the Associated Press, a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously to recommend a booster for seniors and younger adults with other health problems and/or jobs or living situations that put them at increased risk of COVID-19.

Many people who received their initial Pfizer shots at least 6 months ago are also eligible for boosters. There’s no evidence yet that a booster of either vaccine should be open to everybody, the report states.

Related Webinar: COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know

Fauci suggests Halloween can be “enjoyed” this fall

Parents and children who would like to celebrate Halloween have the support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to a report by Yahoo!News. Given that the holiday is primarily outdoors, that widespread vaccinations have mitigated some related risks, and that cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are declining, Fauci has said that circumstances are more favorable in 2021 than they were last fall, especially among those who are vaccinated.

The possibility that the pandemic could become more endemic and allow life to increasingly become more “normal” also factors into the sense of risk, according to the report.

Mixed vaccine doses OK for international travel, CDC says

Fully vaccinated travelers can come into the U.S. even if their doses are mixed, authorities say.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance to allow for international travelers to be allowed into the country with mixed doses of coronavirus vaccines that are approved (including emergency approved) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization.

According to a report by the Washington Post, The White House’s travel restrictions will be lifted Nov. 8 for fully vaccinated international travelers, a policy that will require foreign travelers to show proof of vaccination before boarding a flight. According to a Friday update to CDC guidance, individuals will be considered fully vaccinated if they receive vaccines fully- or emergency-approved — including combinations of such shots.

The CDC has not yet recommended mixing vaccines, but it has acknowledged that “use of such strategies (including mixing of mRNA, adenoviral, and mRNA plus adenoviral products) is increasingly common in many countries.”

The CDC’s website notes that fully vaccinated air travelers coming into the United States from abroad will be required to have a negative coronavirus test result before boarding a flight into the United States. Those traveling by land do not need to provide a negative test, however.

Related Webinar: Moving from COVID-19 Pandemic to COVID-19 Endemic

HHS and FDA offer providers toolkits for essential workers in agriculture

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human and Services (HHS) are giving particular focus to food and agricultural workers as part of their vaccination campaign efforts as influenza season approaches and COVID-19 remains a threat. Throughout the pandemic, one of the best protections for the community has been for these workers to be vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects that flu viruses will spread at the same time as COVID-19 this season.

HHS has launched its “We Can Do This” COVID-19 Public Education Campaign, a national initiative to increase public confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures such as mask wearing and social distancing.

Through a nationwide network of trusted messengers and consistent, fact-based public health messaging, the campaign helps the public make informed decisions about their health and COVID-19, including taking steps to protect themselves and their communities. The effort is driven by communication science and provides tailored information for at-risk groups.

The Toolkits for Essential Workers in Agriculture provide access to materials from the CDC, as well as new material to help healthcare providers to communicate with patients in the food and agricultural industry on the latest COVID-19 prevention and vaccination information.

Important topics include:

  • How to share housing with other field workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • How to store and wash masks
  • Slowing the spread of COVID-19
  • Cleaning work tools
  • Filing a confidential complaint if conditions are unsafe

Related CE Course: Staying Healthy: Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news developments. Visit our Resource Center each week for new COVID-19 updates—plus a variety of other resources for healthcare professionals.