In this file photo, Medical worker Nicholas Tessier fills syringes with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut Photograph:( AFP )
President Joe Biden's administration announced in August a plan to roll out third shots to everyone, not just the immune compromised already able to receive them, starting from September 20
US medical experts will be meeting on Friday to debate and vote on the controversial question of giving out booster doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to the general population.
President Joe Biden's administration announced in August a plan to roll out third shots to everyone, not just the immune compromised already able to receive them, starting from September 20. However, the experts have since expressed reservations about whether they are required, amid concerns over global inequity, the greater need to vaccinate the unvaccinated, and possible increased risk of side effects.
The skepticism extends to scientists at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who struck a cautious tone in documents released ahead of Friday's meeting where an independent panel has been convened. "Overall, data indicate that currently US-licensed or authorised COVID-19 vaccines still afford protection against severe Covid-19 disease and death in the United States," the FDA said in a briefing document.
If the FDA panel votes yes, it will fall to another committee convened by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on September 22-23 to decide who should receive the booster first and when they should get it. The CDC has previously indicated it sees the elderly, nursing home residents and health care workers as likely first in line.
Two senior FDA officials signed on to a letter in The Lancet this week that said "booster doses for the general population are not appropriate at this stage in the pandemic."
Moderna is suggesting the usage of a Covid booster shot — which the World Health Organization (WHO) has protested.
"It is promising to see clinical and real-world evidence adding to the growing body of data on the effectiveness of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine," Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said insisting on the need of a booster shot.
"The increased risk of breakthrough infections in COVE study participants who were vaccinated last year compared to more recently illustrates the impact of waning immunity and supports the need for a booster to maintain high levels of protection."