FDA authorises COVID booster shots for all adults in US
- US regulators have opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval allows all adults to choose another dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine
- COVID-19 cases have been on the rise over the last two weeks, especially in states with colder weather
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, allowing anyone 18 or older to choose between jabs of Pfizer and Moderna. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to debate whether to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults late on Friday, potentially clearing the way for tens of millions more Americans to have three doses of protection ahead of a feared new year surge in cases. Recipients of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can already get a booster.
The booster shots of Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna vaccines had earlier been approved only for vulnerable groups including those who are 65 or older, have a medical condition such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic kidney disease, and those who work or live in a setting where they are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The move to widen the booster shot coverage comes amid a steady rise in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks, especially in states where colder weather is driving people indoors.
Utah and Massachusetts were the latest among 10 states to announce in the past week that they’re opening boosters to all adults.
In September, a panel of FDA advisers voted overwhelmingly against that idea based on the vaccines’ continued effectiveness in most age groups. Instead they endorsed an extra Pfizer dose only for the most vulnerable.
Since then, administration officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, have continued making the case for using boosters more widely, noting that even milder infections in younger people can cause “long COVID” and other complications.
“I don’t know of any other vaccine where we only worry about keeping people out of the hospital,” said Fauci at a briefing Wednesday.
Last week, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech filed new data in support of booster shots.
“We have absolutely no chance in the current situation to control the pandemic without providing boosters to everyone,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told reporters during a visit to Washington last week.
More than 195 million Americans are fully vaccinated with two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More than 30 million already have received a booster.
(With AP inputs)