FDA Prepares to Approve Pfizer Booster Vaccine for All Adults

FDA Prepares to Approve Pfizer Booster Vaccine for All Adults

Older Americans and other groups particularly vulnerable to the virus have had access to a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine since September.

NEW YORK – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may authorize a booster shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in just days, including this Thursday.

Those 18 years of age and older, who have taken the Pfizer vaccine, are expected to receive the booster shot six months after their second injection. That decision could be made as early as Thursday, but it could also be Friday.

THE FINAL STEP: THE OFFICIAL CDC RECOMMENDATION

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has convened its advisory committee to meet on Friday afternoon. But a decision on the expanded eligibility of the booster could be reached before that meeting, according to sources at our sister network NBC.

A move that could make injections available as soon as this weekend.

Some cities and states already allow all adults to receive boosters from the Pfizer vaccine, but it is not yet an official US policy.

Pharmaceutical Pfizer asked US regulators a week ago to allow boosts of its COVID-19 vaccine for anyone over the age of 18, a step that comes amid concerns about the further spread of the coronavirus with travel and vacation meetings.

Older Americans and other groups particularly vulnerable to the virus have had access to a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine since September. But the FDA said it would act quickly to expand boosters to younger ages if warranted.

Pfizer submitted the first results of a booster study of 10,000 people to argue that it is time to expand that campaign even further.

While the three vaccines used in the United States continue to offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 illness and death, their effectiveness against milder infections may decline over time.

The new Pfizer study concluded that a booster could restore protection against symptomatic infection to nearly 96%, even when the extra-contagious Delta variant was increasing. Side effects were similar to those seen with the first two doses.

President Joe Biden’s administration had originally planned boosters for all adults, but faced a severe setback in September when FDA scientific advisers rejected additional doses of Pfizer for all. The panel was not convinced that healthy young people needed another dose, especially when the majority of the world’s population remains unvaccinated.

Ben Oakley
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