US FDA authorizes booster shot for immunocompromised

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THE U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, August 12, authorized booster shots of Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for some people with compromised immune systems.

“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement released on August 12.

“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19,” she added.

The FDA specified that immunocompromised individuals pertain to solid organ transplant recipients or those who are “diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.”

“Other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time,” noted Woodcock.

She added, “The FDA is actively engaged in a science-based, rigorous process with our federal partners to consider whether an additional dose may be needed in the future.”

The FDA also urged close contacts of immunocompromised persons to get vaccinated to “provide increased protection to their loved ones.”

For its part, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backed the FDA’s move to authorize a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for certain individuals.

The agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Friday voted unanimously to recommend an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccine series.

“At a time when the Delta variant is surging, an additional vaccine dose for some people with weakened immune systems could help prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 cases within this population,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement.

The CDC recommended getting a booster shot at least 28 days after the completion of the initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series. (AJPress)

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