FDA OKs Pfizer's booster shot for older adults and people at high risk

The specifics of who should receive the extra shot will be pinned down by advisers to the CDC, who will vote Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday for emergency use in people ages 65 and up, as well as those at high risk of exposure to the coronavirus or severe illness. Boosters are to be given six months after a person receives their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

The FDA’s decision came as an advisory group to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a two-day meeting on the safety and effectiveness Pfizer’s booster shot. On Thursday, those advisers will vote on who would qualify for a third shot.

Full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

Sign off from the CDC group, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, is needed before booster shots can be administered.

However, the timing of the FDA decision cast an air of uncertainty over the first day of the ACIP meeting, which usually knows at the outset what FDA decision it will be considering. Instead, the FDA announcement did not come until after the meeting concluded for the day Wednesday.

Cutting through booster shot confusion

Sept. 18, 202102:38

Pfizer originally asked the FDA to consider a third dose for everyone ages 16 and older six months after they received their second dose. Last Friday, an FDA advisory committee rejected that request, limiting the booster to older adults and those most likely to become seriously ill from Covid-19.

The FDA advisory committee also suggested that people at high risk of exposure at work, such as health care workers and teachers, should also be eligible for a booster dose. That was reflected in Wednesday’s EUA.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

The booster dose is aimed to combat waning immunity from the original series of the vaccine. Data from Israel, presented at Friday’s advisory committee meeting, suggests that protection from Pfizer’s vaccine drops off significantly after six months, though data from the United States show less of a decline, particularly against severe disease. Early data from Israel also showed that a booster dose offered more protection against infection.

In rejecting Pfizer’s original request — that a booster be made available to everyone ages 16 and older — the FDA committee cited concerns about the shot’s possible side effects, such as myocarditis, in younger adults.

ACIP members also struck a skeptical tone for much of Wednesday’s discussions on booster doses. In addition to requests for additional data, committee members wanted more clarity on the specific goal of a booster dose: Is it prevent all illness, or just severe disease?

Another thorny question that the CDC advisors will continue to discuss Thursday is what people who were originally vaccinated with Moderna or Johnson & Johnson should do, as Wednesday’s emergency use authorization only included people who received Pfizer’s vaccine.

“That’s going to leave half of people immunized being told that they’re at risk now or waning immunity and hospitalization and unable to get a booster dose. That’s a big public health panic that we would like to avoid,” said ACIP member Dr. Sarah Long, a professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Moderna has submitted data on its booster dose to the FDA, and Johnson & Johnson is working on doing the same.

Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


A love story: One year after they met, his husband became his kidney donor

In the span of approximately a year, Reid Alexander and Rafael Díaz met and got married – and Díaz donated a kidney to his new husband. Alexander told USA TODAY ... Read more »

Inside Strictly's Johannes Radebe's life - romance, bullying, and rise to fame

Johannes Radebe has become one of the most popular professionals on Strictly Come Dancing. The South African professional dancer joined the BBC series in 2018, and since then, avid fans ... Read more »

Can I get a COVID vaccine booster shot? Here's who is eligible as more boosters get OK'd.

A federal advisory committee supports booster shots of all three COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S. for Americans who need them. So far, the Food and Drug Administration only ... Read more »

Thousands of outraged Puerto Ricans protest power outages, block main highway traffic

“We’re tired of coming home and discovering that we have no lights,” said Mayra Rivera, 55, who attended the march. Read more »

Thousands of California hospital workers strike over 'critical staffing shortages' at nearly a third of hospitals in the state

© AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes In this Thursday, April 9, 2020, file photo, the Intensive Care unit at the St. Vincent Medical Center building in Los Angeles is viewed. AP Photo/Damian ... Read more »

Here's What To Do if Taking Vitamins Doesn't Agree With Your Stomach, According to a G.I. Doc

© Photo: Getty Images/ Grace Cary upset stomach from vitamins In a perfect world, everyone would get all the nutrients they need from food and there would be no need ... Read more »

20 Canadian Companies That Offer More Than Just a Good Salary

© Getty Images Meeting in a modern office space When the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year, thousands of people lost their jobs or were furloughed. Now, as the economy is ... Read more »

Vaccine mix-ups are rare and there are systems in place to keep it that way

An Indiana couple took their family to get their annual flu shot at the local Walgreens, but all of them, including their 4- and 5-year-old, got a Covid-19 vaccine by ... Read more »

This investor crushes his fund's benchmark with these 10 stocks

Want to improve your investment performance? Then cut through the noise and take a moment to learn the essentials from among the best in the business. © VCG via Getty ... Read more »

Coldest place on Earth just saw its second chilliest winter on record

Antarctica is well known for its frigid temperatures. In fact, it is the coldest continent on Earth, and a new report says it just experienced its second chilliest winter ever. ... Read more »

Solar flare triggers geomagnetic storm, leading to auroras in Canada and the US

On Saturday, October 9, NASA detected a solar flare that launched a coronal mass ejection (CME) directly at Earth, setting off a geomagnetic storm late Monday. The storm created the ... Read more »

Ronald Koeman: “Podemos competir para ganar LaLiga”

© Alejandro García (EFE) Koeman, este sábado, en la sala de prensa de la Ciudad Deportiva Joan Gamper. Después de la derrota frente al Bayern, en el estreno del Barcelona ... Read more »

CDC holiday guidance urges vaccination; US will allow vaccinated foreign tourists back in Nov.: Live COVID-19 updates

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging Americans who are not yet vaccinated to get their shots ahead of this year’s holiday season, and those who are eligible ... Read more »

Marci from DOTA: Dragon's Blood will be Dota 2's newest hero this fall

(Photo: Valve Software) Developer Valve Software announced on Saturday (16 October) that Marci, a character from DOTA: Dragon's Blood — the Dota 2 Netflix animated series — will be joining ... Read more »

Deadly stabbing leaves U.K. reeling from another attack on vulnerable lawmakers

Britain was reeling Saturday from the killing of a veteran lawmaker in a public stabbing that sparked a terrorism investigation and renewed calls to address politicians’ safety. The attack on ... Read more »

The Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat, Says New Report

© Provided by Eat This, Not That! Woman reading ingredients and nutrition information on juice bottle’s label. Be honest with yourself—how many times have you looked at a packaged food ... Read more »

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Really Work for Weight Loss, Blood Pressure, and More?

© Jeffrey Westbrook Some say a fermented apple a day will help stabilize blood sugar, support weight loss, and lower blood pressure—here’s the truth. Home cooks and health nuts have ... Read more »

Lesbian sues federal government after being rejected by foster agency

A Tennessee woman applied to foster refugee children but was rejected because of her sexual orientation. Read more »

Tory MP David Amess Dies After Being Stabbed At Constituency Surgery

Conservative MP David Amess. (Photo: UK Parliament) Conservative MP David Amess has died after he was stabbed multiple times at a church in his constituency. Amess, the MP for Southend ... Read more »

One Major Side Effect of Not Taking an Iron Supplement, Says New Study

There are a number of reasons why it’s important to make sure that you’re getting enough iron in your diet. Now, a study published in the journal ESC Heart Failure ... Read more »

Qualified immunity stifles truth-telling, Facebook wars, nursing shortages: Top columns

In today’s fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we offer you in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week’s top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, ... Read more »

Florida dad who got Covid-19 care 1,200 miles away is going home months later. These are the lessons he wants to share

These days, brushing his teeth while standing up is a major accomplishment. © Courtesy Susan Walker Robby Walker left Saint Francis hospital unable to stand without the help of a ... Read more »

Cracking down on menstrual hygiene myths, one at a time

Menstruation is a crucial part of anyone who has a uterus. Without it, pregnancy as well as childbirth, and the survival of our species could all be lost. In spite ... Read more »

1 dead, 1 hurt in shooting after a dispute in a North Carolina night spot, police say

One person was fatally shot and another hospitalized after a dispute in a North Carolina night spot early Saturday, police said. Police found both people outside of Hotshots Sports Bar ... Read more »

3 elements to succeed in hybrid model of working

© Provided by The Statesman 3 elements to succeed in hybrid model of working The pandemic-induced lockdown and social distancing norms paved the way for the adoption and acceptance of ... Read more »

Staggering extent of GP surgery waiting times, remote appointments and lack of GPs - data

The coronavirus pandemic has left GP offices and A&E wards on their knees since September, with several hundred Covid patients still admitted daily. The Government has tried to correct the ... Read more »

2 Top Healthcare Stocks That Could Be Bought Out in 2022

The healthcare sector has been a serious disappointment for investors in 2021. After a banner year in 2020 thanks to the advent of several highly lucrative COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, ... Read more »

'EastEnders' star Tamzin Outhwaite opens up about baby loss

Tamzin Outhwaite opened up on Twitter. (Getty Images for EE) Tamzin Outhwaite has opened up about suffering miscarriages, saying she lost many babies and had felt “a sense of shame”. ... Read more »

Barcelona accused of 'carelessness' amid major hygiene concerns at Camp Nou

Barcelona have been accused of ‘carelessness’ following a report that first uncovered major hygiene problems at their iconic Camp Nou stadium back in 2013. © Provided by 90min Camp Nou ... Read more »

Vienna museums open adult-only OnlyFans account to display nudes

More than a century after the artists of the Vienna Secession declared “to every age its art; to art its freedom”, the Austrian capital has found a new site for ... Read more »

Conservative MP David Amess Stabbed Multiple Times

(Photo: David Amess) Conservative MP Sir David Amess, 69, has been stabbed several times in his Southend West constituency, according to reports. Sky News reported on Friday afternoon that a ... Read more »

Will Johnson & Johnson Win Authorization for Its COVID-19 Booster?

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has reviewed Johnson & Johnson‘s (NYSE: JNJ) data supporting boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA gets the final say in ... Read more »

Rob Halford's cancer is in remission

Rob Halford’s cancer is in remission. © Bang Showbiz Rob Halford The Judas Priest frontman was diagnosed with prostate cancer amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year, and he is grateful ... Read more »

How many lives have Covid-19 vaccines saved?

© Provided by Quartz Vials labeled AstraZeneca, Pfizer – Biontech, Johnson and Johnson, and Sputnik V are pictured together. More than 200 million US residents have gotten at least one ... Read more »

If You Invested $3,000 in CRISPR Therapeutics in 2018, This Is How Much You Would Have Today

CRISPR Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CRSP) is one of the most exciting biotechs on the market today, because it’s pushing the limits of what is possible when it comes to treating hereditary ... Read more »

A UCLA professor suspended in a row over grades for Black students claims it was to distract from the business school that's 'inhospitable' to people of color

© Ken Wolter/Shutterstock Ken Wolter/Shutterstock A UCLA professor was suspended last year after he refused to grade Black students leniently amid BLM protests. Klein responded to the request sarcastically, and ... Read more »

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claims Marcus Rashford should 'prioritise' football

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has controversially suggested that Marcus Rashford should ‘prioritise’ football following his incredible off-field work over the last 18 months. © Provided by 90min Marcus ... Read more »

'I bought the same items from different supermarkets - there is a difference'

A shopper has conducted an investigation into supermarkets to find out once and for all which is the best value for money, and the results are quite surprising. Emma Gill, ... Read more »

Here's How My Unmanageable IBS as a Teen Led to My First Colonoscopy as an Adult

A team of doctors performs colonoscopy, diagnostics of the intestine. Bowel health. Medical concept with tiny people. Flat vector illustration. The word “colonoscopy” has always been one I have dreaded ... Read more »

'Astounding quality:' These wildly popular earbuds are on sale for $27 at Amazon

We may receive commission from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. SoundPeats are just like Apple AirPods, except affordable. (Photo: Amazon) Just ... Read more »