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FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Pfizer Booster for Certain Populations

In a public meeting on Sept. 17, the FDA voted 16-2 in favor of recommending Pfizer booster shots for those over 65 years of age, people at high risk of contracting Covid and those at risk for severe disease if their second dose was received six months ago. The FDA stated that Pfizer’s data, as well as data from other sources, shows that the two-dose series is still effective against severe disease or hospitalization related to Covid for the general population. The FDA also was unconvinced that an additional dose was effective in preventing transmission and concluded more safety data is needed regarding third injections in the younger population.  

The definition of “high risk” has yet to be defined in the context of the booster shot. Groups that were determined to be at high risk of contracting Covid are healthcare workers, teachers and first responders. 

The recommendation of the advisory committee will now be reviewed by both the FDA and CDC before announcing their decision.

It is important to keep in mind the booster shot decision only affects those who have previously received the Pfizer vaccine. To date, there has been no advice on booster shots for those who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

You can watch the FDA Public hearing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsEGC38rhII

Briefing Document: https://www.fda.gov/media/152161/download

Nicole Burgett-Yandow, NP has a Masters Degree in Nursing with over 19 years of health care experience. Currently, she practices at Winchester Hospital Center for Weight Management as well as providing after hours on call coverage for patients within the Atrius system. She has worked in a variety of settings including primary care and infectious disease. She has been a Tewksbury resident since 2009 and has two kids in the Tewksbury Public Schools.

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