FDA authorizes 3rd dose of Pfizer COVID vaccine for older Americans

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FDA authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine for those aged 65 and older and some high-risk Americans, paving the way for a quick rollout of the shots. The booster dose is to be administered at least 6 months after completion of the 2nd dose, and the authorization would include people most susceptible to severe disease and those in jobs that left them at risk, the FDA said. President Joe Biden announced in August the government’s intention to roll out booster shots for people aged 16 and older this week, pending approval by the FDA and CDC. Advisers to the FDA voted on Friday to recommend COVID vaccine booster shots for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness, after overwhelmingly rejecting a call for broader approval. The advisory panel said there was not enough evidence to support booster shots for all those aged 16 and older who had received the 2nd dose at least 6 months earlier and also sought more safety data. The agency could revisit the issue of additional shots for a broader authorization in the future. Top FDA members have been split on the need for boosters for the general population, with interim head Janet Woodcock backing them and some of the agency’s senior scientists arguing current evidence does not support them. Johnson & Johnson said the 2nd shot of its COVID vaccine increased its effectiveness in the USA against moderate to severe forms of the disease. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, Data from the Moderna COVID vaccine on booster doses is just weeks away.

Some countries, including Israel and UK, have already rolled out COVID booster campaigns. The USA authorized extra shots for people with compromised immune systems last month and over 2 million people had already received the 3rd shot, CDC data showed.

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