FDA signs off additional shots of Pfizer Formula for wider contingent of Americans
With booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine now authorized in the US, government advisers reunited on Thursday to tackle the most controversial question: Who really should be rolling up their sleeves right away?
Late Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration signed off on additional shots of Pfizer formula for a wider swath of Americans: those 65 and older, people at high risk of serious illness, and health care workers and others who may be infected. are in danger. Work.
But that was not the last hurdle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sets the final US policy on who qualifies for an additional shot. And CDC advisers were set to vote Thursday on how many of the nearly 26 million Americans who took their last Pfizer shot at least six months ago should get a third dose.
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The widespread distribution of the booster will represent an important new phase in the country’s vaccination campaign. Britain and Israel are already starting third rounds of shots over strong objections from the World Health Organization that poor countries do not have enough of their initial doses.
Whatever the CDC’s decision, millions more Americans will still face confusion — those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots early in the vaccine rollout. The government still hasn’t considered boosters for those brands and there’s no data on whether it’s safe or effective to mix and match and give those people the Pfizer shot.
The priority is still unvaccinated vaccination. About 182 million Americans, or 55% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
The COVID-19 vaccines used in the US still provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death, but even months after people’s initial vaccinations, immunity against the infection appears to be waning.
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The FDA rejected a comprehensive Biden administration plan announced a month ago to deliver boosters to the general population, instead taking a more targeted approach for now. Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock cautioned that booster decisions could very well change as the real-world figures come in.
“As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and inform the public,” Woodcock said.
The CDC advisory panel was considering boosters for seniors, nursing home residents and front-line health care workers, rather than all adults. But the two-day meeting of the committee began on Wednesday in which several members warned that the priority of the vaccination campaign should be prevention of serious disease, not infection.
He also explains how to tell when a booster is needed. While an additional dose modifies the number of virus-fighting antibodies, those naturally decrease over time and no one knows how long the antibody boost from Pfizer’s third dose will last — or how much it will actually last. Adds protection because the immune system also creates additional protection after vaccination.
The US has already authorized a third dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and transplant recipients. Other Americans, healthy or not, have in some cases managed to get a booster just by asking.