The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will likely approve COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all Americans six months after they receive their final shot rather than eight months previously announced by the Biden administration.
A person familiar with plans told The Wall Street Journal the change in the timeline is because data being examined by federal regulators look at boosters being given after six months.
Both a White House spokesman and an FDA spokeswoman declined to comment to the Journal about when approval should be aniticpated or how soon after a final dose boosters will be recommended.
Federal health officials will likely approve COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans six months after their final dose rather than eight months. Pictured: Rosa Gallegos, 31, gets vaccinated against COVID-19 in Los Angeles, August 11
The Biden administration initially announced plans for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots last week.
During a media briefing, officials said adults over age 18 who received the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines could get a third dose starting the week of September 20.
At the time, there were no plans in place for those who received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Currently, boosters shots are only approved for immunocompromised Americans aged 12 and older.
To be approved for the entire U.S. population, the decision will need approval from from the FDA and a recommendation made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) advisory committee.
Among the first to receive boosters will likely be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans, who were some of the first Americans to be vaccinated once the shots received emergency use authorization last December.
Officials are also planning to recommend that people receive a booster made from the same company as their initial two shots.
This means that people who receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine should get a third dose of Pfizer and those who were given two doses of the Moderna vaccine should receive a Moderna booster.
Two weeks ago, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to allow them to be administered as boosters for those with weakened immune systems, citing their higher risk of catching the virus and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness waned over time.
More and more research has shown that people with weakened immune systems have low or undetectable antibody levels, even after two doses.
A study in May found that all cancer patients developed fewer antibodies after being vaccinated compared to healthy participants and 10 percent barely developed antibodies at all.
Another study in June looked at 30 organ transplant recipients and found that 24 developed negative antibody levels – meaning they did not have any immune-fighting cells – after two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
Despite this evidence, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a moratorium on COVID-19 vaccines until every country could vaccinate at least 15 percent of their populations.
However, third doses are currently approved in several countries including Chile, France, Germany and Israel.
Israel, which exclusively administered the Pfizer shot, has been offering a booster to people over 60 who were already vaccinated more than five months ago in an effort to control its own surge in cases from the Delta variant.
France and Germany have also approved third doses for vulnerable populations with plans to start administering the shots next month.
Source: Health & wellbeing | The Guardian