FDA reviewing Pfizer application ahead of scheduled Monday rollout
To boost or not to boost, that is the question. Just days before the U.S. is set to roll out booster shots of the Pfizer COVID vaccine, health experts are arguing that they’re unnecessary for most of the population. An FDA panel is set to review Pfizer’s application for third shots for those 16 and older Friday. A review published in the Lancet by U.S. and international scientists, including two who are resigning from the FDA over the booster shots rollout, concluded that “(c)urrent evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population, in which efficacy against severe disease remains high.”
While they acknowledge efficacy wanes and that booster shots might be necessary in the future, they say they are “not appropriate at this stage in the pandemic.” The world would be better served by getting first doses out to countries that have low vaccination rates. “Current vaccine supplies could save more lives if used in previously unvaccinated populations than if used as boosters in vaccinated populations.”
Whatever the FDA advisory committee determines, it might be too late to rethink the Pfizer booster shots, which are set to begin Sept. 20.
“Weeks ago, the administration decided that the public needs cake and deserves cake, and so shall have cake,” John P Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine, told the New York Times. “Now, the public expects cake and would be very annoyed if its cake was taken away at this point.”
Moderna did not have data submitted in time for a third shot of its vaccine to be approved by Monday, but its latest findings show that people vaccinated within the last eight months have 36% fewer breakthrough infections than those vaccinated 12 months ago.
Will a third, booster shot be the last one? “We don’t really know,” Moderna president Stephen Hoge told Yahoo Finance.