FDA Could Approve Pfizer Booster Shots for All Adults This Week
More than 30 million Americans have already gotten booster shots
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for all American adults as early as Thursday. That would make tens of millions more Americans eligible for the booster doses, sources familiar with the plan told The New York Times.
The FDA is expected to make its decision without the input of its own expert panel, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention independent panel of vaccine experts plans to meet Friday to discuss the safety and efficacy of the booster dose. If both agencies give Pfizer the green light, it will come just a bit more than a week after the company first applied for emergency authorization. Approval would mean that any adult who received a second dose of the vaccine at least six months earlier would be able to get a booster as soon as this weekend.
More than 30 million Americans have already gotten booster shots, with the number often outpacing the number of first shots given each day across the country, according to the CDC.
In addition to the Pfizer booster request, it is expected that Moderna will soon also ask the FDA to expand eligibility for its COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, The Times reported. Some state and local officials have already taken matters into their own hands: New York City health officials on Monday encouraged all adults who want boosters to seek them out. Meanwhile, Arkansas, California, Colorado, and New Mexico have already moved to expand access.
In September, the FDA authorized Pfizer booster shots for adults 65 years and older, those with underlying medical conditions, and those with jobs that put them at risk. In October, the FDA approved booster shots for everyone who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and for vulnerable people who received the Moderna two-dose vaccine.
President Joe Biden wanted to start offering boosters to all adults in September but faced pushback from public health experts. However, there is growing evidence of reductions in vaccine efficacy and in protective antibodies in fully vaccinated people.