The FDA Could Authorize COVID-19 Booster Shots For All Adults Later This Week

NEW YORK (AP) — An influential U.S. advisory panel will discuss expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults Friday, a move that could make the shots available nationwide as early as this weekend.

Some cities and states already allow all adults to get boosters of Pfizer’s vaccine, but it is not yet official U.S. policy. California, New Mexico (New Mexico), Arkansas, West Virginia, West Virginia, and Colorado have all expanded access to the vaccines for adults in the past week. New York City also made similar moves.

Pfizer requested that the U.S. regulators allow any boosters to its COVID-19 vaccination for people aged 18 and older. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to sign off on Pfizer’s application before the advisory panel meets Friday. The final step — CDC’s official recommendation — could come soon after the meeting.
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This would allow for a much wider range of people to be eligible. Boosters are now recommended for people who initially received their second Pfizer or Moderna shots at least six months ago if they’re 65 or older or are at high risk of COVID-19 because of health problems or their job or living conditions. Boosters are also recommended for people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

A little over 31 million Americans are now vaccinated with an additional dose, which includes patients who have had cancer treatment or organ transplant recipients.

While all three vaccines used in the U.S. continue to offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 illness and death, the shots’ effectiveness against milder infection can wane over time.

Pfizer has submitted early results of a booster study in 10,000 people to make its case that it’s time to further expand the booster campaign. It was found that boosters could provide protection against symptoms of infection up to 95%. However, the delta-contagious variant was exploding. Side effects were similar to those seen with the company’s first two shots.

In the past, members of the panel (the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) debated whether enough evidence is available to support the use of boosters for adults.

Matthew Perrone, an Associated Press journalist from Washington contributed to the story.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. Content is entirely the responsibility of Associated Press.


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