As reported by cnet,
An advisory committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionto recommend to those age 65 and older, nursing-home residents and those age 50 to 64 with underlying conditions, all authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday. The CDC panel, however, stopped short of OK’ing another group the FDA had approved a Pfizer booster for: Those whose jobs put them at a higher risk of serious infection.
The COVID-19 vaccines that are already approved by the FDA continue to be highly effective in preventing hospitalization. Over the summer, as thetook hold in the US, the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 surged. Those who are unvaccinated have accounted for nearly all the hospitalizations and deaths — over 97% as of July. With its new , the Biden administration aims to counter the surge and put pressure on tens of millions of people who are eligible but aren’t yet vaccinated.
Recent studies show that the effectiveness of vaccines may start to decline after six to eight months, and a vaccine booster would pump up immune protection against COVID-19 and variants. To prepare for booster vaccinations, the federal government said it has a sufficient supply of all three vaccines available in the US, includingand .
The debate over booster shots continues this week, and we’ll lay out what we know so far. For more on COVID-19, here’s what we know about, the latest and . And here’s what you should know about the and what you should do now if you .
What did the CDC advisory committee recommend for the Pfizer booster shot?
Following two days of discussion, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on Thursday on its recommendation for the Pfizer booster:
- Individuals 65 years of age and older
- Individuals 50 through 64 years of age with an underlying condition
- Individuals 19 to 49 years of age with an underlying condition if they access their risk of infection as high
The panel voted to not recommend a booster for those whose jobs put them at a higher risk of infection, such as hospital workers or teachers. The FDA had recommended that group also be included for a Pfizer booster shot.
The committee’s recommendation now goes to Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the CDC, to review and approve. Following approval, the booster shots could be available as soon as this week.
What was the FDA recommendation for the Pfizer vaccine booster shot?
On Wednesday, the FDA recommended a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine booster six months after becoming fully vaccinated for several groups who are at a higher risk of serious infection:
- Individuals 65 years of age and older
- Individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe infection
- Individuals 18 through 64 years of age who are at high risk because of their jobs
The FDA decision applies just to those vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and not for those who received theor vaccines.
Why would I need a Pfizer booster shot?
If you are fully vaccinated, the CDC says you will continue to be protected from infection and especially against serious illness. All the COVID-19 vaccine shots authorized by the FDA continue to be “highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death,” according to the CDC.
However, recent studies — such as one from Israel and another from the UK — suggest that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines may decrease after six or eight months, necessitating a booster shot to maintain high levels of protection against.
Last week, Pfizer released data from its application to the FDA, arguing that immunity wanes over time and that administering boosters is a way to get ahead of the curve and contain the pandemic. Pfizer also presented what it considers proof that a booster will be safe and effective for the majority of adults.
What are the different opinions about COVID booster shots?
President Joe Biden said he wants everyone in the US who is already fully vaccinated to be eligible for a booster shot. But the FDA committee voted against that for now, arguing that the data needs to be reviewed more thoroughly by experts. Instead, it recommended that those who are age 65 and older should be eligible, as well as those who are at a high risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms — that includes frontline and health care workers.
The tension over who should get boosters remains high. Most recently, leading scientists argued in the medical journal The Lancet that carrying out a widespread distribution of booster shots is not appropriate at this time.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, has called for a moratorium on booster doses until every country is able to vaccinate at least 40% of its population. “I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” Tedros said earlier this month.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly said having enough boosters for the US does not reduce the number of vaccines the US supplies to other countries. “We feel that it’s a false choice and that we can do both,” Psaki said in August, adding that the US has donated more vaccines globally than all other countries combined.
At a COVID-19 White House briefing on Sept. 17, Jeffrey Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said that the US has distributed 140 million vaccine doses to almost 100 countries, and that it had purchased 500 million Pfizer doses to donate to the countries most in need in order to accelerate a global exit from the pandemic.
When might I be able to get a Pfizer booster shot?
The timing is not confirmed. In August, Biden said government health officials were recommending that those who are fully vaccinated be considered eligible for a booster shot eight months after their last jab, pending approval from the FDA and CDC. “As soon as they are authorized, those eligible will be able to get a booster right away,” Biden said during his recent speech on.
Since Biden first announced booster plans, the proposed timeline has shifted around. Pfizer’s report submitted to the FDA requested that a booster shot be made available to most people six months after their second dose. The first step in the booster rollout would be for the FDA to amend its vaccine approval. Then a CDC advisory committee would have to give a recommendation on who can receive the extra shot and when. The final step would be for the CDC director to give it the stamp of approval, according to ABC News.
Whenever it happens, Pfizer’s booster will likely be first out of the gate. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, it’s because Pfizer’s booster shot is further along in the FDA approval process than the other two formulations.
Who’s already eligible to get a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot?
Some immunocompromised people are already eligible under guidelines from the CDC and can go out now to get their third dose. The CDC’s booster recommendation is for those 12 and older for the Pfizer vaccine. For the Moderna vaccine, the CDC is recommending 18 and older. The FDA hasn’t authorized a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for immunocompromised people because of a lack of data.
The CDC recommends that you talk with your health care provider about your medical condition and whether an additional dose is appropriate. Seefor more on a booster shot for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.
Is the Pfizer booster the same as the first two shots?
Yes. According to Pfizer, its COVID-19 booster would be a third jab of the same vaccine you got with the first two doses.
Separately, Pfizer is working with its partner BioNTech on a version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the delta variant.
Where can I get a booster shot?
According to Zients, boosters will be available at roughly 80,000 places across the country, including over 40,000 local pharmacies. Some 90% of Americans have a vaccine site within 5 miles of where they live, Zients said, and getting a booster shot will be just as easy as getting the first shot. And the booster shot will be free too.
You can check Vaccines.gov to see which vaccines are available where or call 800-232-0233 for vaccine information.
For more on coronavirus treatments and vaccines, here’s what we know about, the new and .
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.