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Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be given to older and at-risk Americans

Published on 23/09/21 at 10:30am

The FDA have approved a booster dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 65 and above, as well as for immunocompromised people aged 18 to 64 years. Millions of people who had their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago will be able to receive their booster shot in the US this week.

According to FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, it is also going to be administered to people whose regular institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at increased risk of severe disease. These include health-care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons.

The decision to roll out a booster shot follows data presented last week by Pfizer to an FDA panel adviser, which showed waning COVID-19 immunity from the jab over time. The data also demonstrated that the booster shot increased neutralising antibody titers against the wild-type SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Beta and Delta variants, when compared to the levels reported after the initial doses.

The advisory panel to the FDA has said that there is not enough evidence to support booster shots for all those ages 16 and older who received a second dose six months prior. Neither the FDA and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have yet approved the US government’s decision to roll out booster shots for younger people, but these agencies could approve broader authorisation in the future.

BioNTech CEO and Co-Founder Ugur Sahin commented: “Today’s emergency use authorisation is supported by clinical data underlining that a booster induces a strong immune response against tested variants of concern and can address a current public health need.”

People in the US who received the Moderna or J&J vaccinations are still waiting to be told if they will receive booster doses.

Lina Adams


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