US authorizes Covid boosters for all over 18s: Pfizer, Moderna

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WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday extended the authorization of Covid vaccine boosters to all people aged 18 and older, six months after the completion of their primary vaccination series, Pfizer and Moderna said.
“This emergency use authorization comes at a critical time as we enter the winter months and face increasing Covid-19 case counts and hospitalizations across the country,” said Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel.
The latest action simplifies what until now has been a confusing list of who’s eligible, allowing anyone 18 or older to choose either company’s booster six months after their last dose regardless of which vaccine they had first.
Earlier in the day, Moderna said the FDA extended the emergency use authorization of a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine to all adults aged 18 and older.
Pfizer last week asked the FDA to expand that decision to everyone, citing new data from a study of 10,000 people. Ultimately, the FDA decided there was enough evidence, from studies and real-world use of boosters, to back the expansion for both Pfizer and Moderna.
Last month, backed by its advisory panel, the FDA cleared Moderna boosters _ using half the dose that people received with the first two shots _ for the same vulnerable groups.
Administration officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, continued making the case for using boosters more widely, noting that even milder infections in younger people can cause “long Covid” and other complications.
“I don’t know of any other vaccine where we only worry about keeping people out of the hospital,” said Fauci at a briefing Wednesday.
More than 195 million Americans are fully vaccinated, defined as having received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More than 30 million already have received a booster.
The FDA previously ruled that people getting a booster can receive a different brand from the vaccine they received initially.
But there’s one more step: A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel is expected to meet later in the day to discuss whether to recommend the booster doses for the broader population.
(With inputs from agencies)





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