A U.S. government advisory panel overwhelmingly rejected a plan Friday to give Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots across the board, and instead endorsed the extra vaccine dose only for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.
The panel vote rejected, 16-2, boosters for almost everyone. Then, in an 18-0 vote, it endorsed extra shots for people 65 and older and those at risk of serious disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also considering boosters for older people, nursing home residents, and front-line health care workers rather than all adults. The FDA and CDC will most likely decide at some later point whether people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots should get boosters.
A Pfizer study has shown that the effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 was 96% two months after the second dose, but had dropped to 84% by around six months.
Pfizer has announced that a trial showed its Covid-19 vaccine was safe and generated a “robust” antibody response in children ages 5 to 11. A Pfizer spokesperson also confirmed that were no instances of myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation that has been linked with mRNA vaccines.
Pfizer plans to submit to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization soon. Pfizer said these data will be included in a “near-term submission” for an emergency use authorization (EUA), and the companies will continue to accumulate the data needed to file for FDA approval for people ages 5 to 11.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for people age 16 and older, and authorized for use in people ages 12 to 15. FDA officials have said that once data is submitted, the agency could authorize a vaccine for younger children in a matter of weeks.
According to the CDC, 63.8% of the total US population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 54.6% of the population is fully vaccinated.