COVID-19 vaccines have prevented many deaths and hospitalizations, but the illness is still a public health risk. In 2022, COVID-19 was the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. and is still a leading cause of severe illness and death, particularly for older adults and people who are immunocompromised. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts adults 65 years and older. More than half of COVID-19 hospitalizations from October to December 2023 occurred among people in this age group.

To protect this group and others with severe risk of illness, CDC health experts continue to recommend an additional dose of the updated COVID-19 vaccine to adults with compromised immune systems, especially those 65 years and older. This extra dose restores critical immune protection, which may have weakened since their last recommended dose.

In the same way that health experts track the flu and other common illnesses, these experts will continue to monitor COVID-19 and recommend measures to stay safe and healthy. 

CDC continues to advise the public to practice precautions such as receiving updated COVID-19 vaccines, using at-home rapid antigen tests if you’ve been exposed and develop symptoms, staying home and isolating if you’re sick, and wearing a high-quality mask, as needed, when in public indoor areas.

Updated March 11, 2024