Sources have told NBC News that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to allow Americans, who have weak immune systems due to pre-existing ailments, to get a booster shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement of emergency use approval could come as early as Thursday, according to two sources who are familiar with the matter.
In July, a panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had indicated that a third dose was essential for immuno-compromised adults. Doctors believe that many of these adults are vulnerable although they have already taken two doses. They have a low immune response to the shots.
According to the CDC about 2.7 percent of American adults have low immune responses due to various ailments. Most of them include
- Patients who have had organ transplants.
- Patients who are undergoing cancer treatments.
- Patients who have HIV.
According to several studies such patients have developed little or no antibodies after taking both the doses of the vaccine. They have been advised to maintain social distance and wear masks even after taking two shots. A booster shot might help them develop antibodies.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been effective in healthy people who have received two jabs. Few breakthrough cases of COVID-19 have been seen and most of them have been mild or asymptomatic. These vaccines have been successful in preventing hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated.
The FDA would most likely authorize emergency use authorization of a third dose, or a booster shot for immuno-compromised persons on Thursday. Once the FDA authorizes this approval the CDC advisory group might vote officially recommend a third dose for this group. Following this, doctors would start prescribing additional doses. The CDC group is planning to meet on Friday.
Several countries including Chile, Israel, France, and Germany have already approved the use of a booster shot or a third dose. The delta variant, which is surging through the nation and the world, is highly transmissible and has caused breakthrough cases among the vaccinated though the hospitalizations and deaths have been extremely low. A third shot for the immuno-compromised is a good step forward to fight the delta variant of COVID-19.