COVID-19 recall debate divides medical experts – The Ticker
The United States Food and Drug Administration Advisory Group emergency use authorization recommended for the Pfizer-BioNTech recall for Americans 65 years of age and older and those at high risk of serious complications, such as those with compromised immune systems.
The FDA, however, has rejected extending the availability of booster injections to people under the age of 65. “After seven hours of deliberation, members of the Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee voted 16-2 against a proposal to administer a third dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech to persons 16 years of age and older. New statistics noted. Unanimity decision was made on September 17th.
Comparatively, the vote to grant reminders to older Americans and those at risk of severe COVID-19 infection was 18-0.
President Joe Biden planned to provide boosters to eligible Americans this fall, during the week of September 20. Although Biden chose this tentative date, his decision to push the boosters depended on approval from the FDA and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The White House noted. This was to determine the effectiveness and safety of boosters.
The timing of the booster shots was scheduled to provide additional protection for those who received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine return towards the end of December and the beginning of January because their immunity decreases after about six months. “The data in this report shows that [the Pfizer vaccine] effectively prevents COVID-19 for up to 6 months after dose 2 in various populations, despite the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants, ”Pfizer said in a to study.
Among those who were the first to be vaccinated against COVID-19 were residents of health facilities, health care providers and the elderly.
The debate on whether to allow a wider use of boosters has been a back-and-forth between experts. Some believe that distributing reminders to every eligible adult would be premature without proper data to support the decision. And some don’t see the need for boosters because fully vaccinated people are still protected from infection.
“Aggregate data indicates that COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed or authorized in the United States still provide protection against severe COVID-19 illness and death in the United States,” FDA staff said, according to Reuters.