The FDA may soon approve Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for all adults


Sarah Tew / CNET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was able to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot for all adults as early as Thursday, The New York Times reported Tuesday. That would mean that any adult who received a second dose of the vaccine at least six months before could be eligible to get the third shot as soon as this weekend if the regulators show up on the go.

The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its Vaccine Advisory Committee must still sign the boosters before they become available to all Americans. The committee has a meeting scheduled for Friday to discuss the booster dose, according to The Times. The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In September, the FDA approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot for adults 65 and older or at risk. The CDC then approved Pfizer’s booster shots for these Americans. Last month The FDA also shines green for Modernas COVID-19 booster shots for adults 65 years and older or at risk, as well as Johnson & Johnson’s COVID booster for adults 18 years and older.

In addition, last month the FDA approved the possibility that eligible individuals could “mix and match” vaccines when receiving their booster, meaning that a person who received some sort of vaccine for the initial dose could receive a booster shot of another vaccine.

Last week, Pfizer asked the FDA for approval of its booster shot for all 18 years and older. Meanwhile, states like California, Colorado and New Mexico have already approved all adults to receive the additional vaccine.

Several studies show that the effectiveness of the vaccine may begin to decline after six to eight months. Recent studies show that a booster dose of Pfizer shows 95.6% vaccine efficacy against COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in preventing hospitalization and death. More than 99% of COVID deaths are due to unvaccinated people, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser, to CBS in early July. And people who are not fully vaccinated were more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 in the spring and summer compared to those who are fully vaccinated, The Washington Post reported. Over 58% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC.

While boosters could provide extra protection to millions of Americans, only about 4.6% of the population in low-income countries have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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