U.S. health advisers said Thursday that some Americans who received Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine should be given a half-dose booster to boost protection against the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration panel of advisers voted unanimously to recommend a recall for the elderly, adults with other health conditions, jobs or life situations that put them at increased risk of COVID-19.
The recommendation is not binding, but it is a key step towards extending the recall campaign in the United States to millions more Americans. Many people who received their initial Pfizer injections at least six months ago are already receiving a booster after the FDA cleared their use last month.
Regarding the dose, the initial vaccination with Moderna consists of two injections of 100 micrograms. But Moderna says a single shot of 50 micrograms should be enough for a booster.
The agency called its experts on Thursday and Friday to determine who should receive boosters and when for people who received the injections from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson earlier this year.
The FDA will use the recommendations of its advisers to make final decisions about boosters for both companies. Next week, a panel convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will offer more details on who should get one.
U.S. officials stress that the priority is to vaccinate the 66 million unvaccinated Americans who are eligible for vaccination – most at risk as the extra-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus has burned across the country.
“It’s important to remember that vaccines always offer strong protection against serious consequences” such as hospitalization and death from COVID-19, said FDA chief vaccine officer Dr. Peter Marks.
But Marks said it has also become clear that there is some decrease in protection against milder infections with the three coronavirus vaccines used in the United States. which would “create the least confusion” for the public.
Moderna is seeking FDA clearance for a booster used like Pfizer’s: for people 65 years of age and older, or adults with other health concerns, jobs, or life situations that put them at risk increase in severe coronavirus – once they are at least six months after their last dose.
The FDA will use the recommendations of its advisers to decide whether or not to authorize Moderna boosters. If so, there’s yet another hurdle: Next week, a panel convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will offer more details on who should get one.
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