For recipients of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for COVID 19, the booster protection is likely to be expanded to a much larger section of the population, with the likelihood of the U.S government recommending boosters for people as young as 40.
A close source told Elizabeth Cohen from CNN that it will happen soon as there has been a growing concern in the FDA owing to the increase in the number of COVID 19 related hospitalizations of people under 65 years who are fully vaccinated.
Booster Doses could soon be Approved for People as Young as 40 years
In the midst of the Delta variant surge in August, as per the COVID 19 cases and deaths data submitted by 16 jurisdictions, the unvaccinated population had a 6.1% higher risk of testing positive for the virus, according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
He further added that unvaccinated people were also 11 times at a higher risk of dying from the virus compared to vaccinated people.
According to the CDC data that was published on Wednesday, about 57.1% of the country’s population has been fully vaccinated. Out of the total number of doses administered daily, 40% account for booster shots. The total number of boosters administered daily is almost 1.3 times more than the first doses.
The Food and Drug Administration approves more boosters
The FDA on Wednesday approved booster shots for eligible individuals for the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines and confirmed that any of the three approved vaccines could be used as a booster dose in a mix and match approach.
The agency also authorized emergency use of booster doses for Moderna’s vaccine recipients who are over 65 years old, who are below 65, but above 18, and are susceptible to severe COVID 19 infection because of pre-existing medical conditions as well as those who live or work in environments that put them at a higher risk of exposure to the virus at least six months after being fully vaccinated.
For the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster shot has been authorized by the FDA to be administered after a minimum period of two months post the initial dose to anyone above the age of 18 years.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, FDA’s Acting Commissioner said that since the available data indicates waning immunity in certain sections of the populations that are fully vaccinated, the approval of booster shots is vital in ensuring continued protection against the Coronavirus infection.
Meanwhile, last month, the FDA has also recommended the use of booster shots in high-risk groups for Pfizer vaccine recipients who are over 65 years old, adults who are susceptible to severe COVID 19 infection because of pre-existing medical conditions as well as those who live or work in environments that put them at a higher risk of exposure to the virus at least six months after being fully vaccinated.
According to FDA officials, they are considering bringing down the age limit for emergency administration of booster shots once further safety data is received.
Director of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine arm, Dr. Peter Marks said that it was a matter of having enough safety data so as to ensure that the benefits that we derive from making boosters available across all age groups outweigh the risks involved if any.
The FDA is also on the verge of approving pediatric doses of BioNTech/ Pfizer vaccine for about 28 million children in the age group of 5 to 11 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it.
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