A group of Food and Drug Administration advisers has rejected a plan Friday to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all Americans, instead setting up a potential plan that would approve boosters for some at-risk groups.
- The Associated Press reports that the FDA’s committee of experts voted 16-2 against the Pfizer booster shots, saying Pfizer offered little data to support the need for booster shots.
But the FDA committee of experts voted 18-0 to approve booster shots for older Americans (those over 65) and those who are at high risk for severe COVID-19, according to The Washington Post.
- It’s unclear what this means for those who received the Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The committee mostly debated the need for COVID-19 boosters, saying that the two doses are more important right now, according to The Associated Press.
“I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” said Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University at the meeting, per The Associated Press. “And I think it’s important that the main message we transmit is that we’ve got to get everyone two doses.”
- Dr. Amanda Cohn of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at the meeting: “At this moment it is clear that the unvaccinated are driving transmission in the United States.”
The Biden administration said back in August there was a need for additional COVID-19 booster shots, asking Americans to get their shots beginning on Sept. 20. The shots are especially necessary for those with underlying medical conditions, health officials said.
- Those who are immunocompromised can get booster shots now with a doctor’s approval.
But the FDA said Wednesday that the current batch of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer significant protection against severe disease and death, which means there isn’t a big need for everyone to get additional doses, per The Wall Street Journal.