(CNN) — Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration declined Friday to recommend that the agency approve Covid-19 booster doses for anyone who was vaccinated six months or more ago.
They did, however, recommend a more limited step: emergency use authorization for people 65 and older, as well as those at high risk of severe infection. They then went back and included health care workers and other people who are at high risk of contracting an infection at work – even if they are not at particularly high risk of severe disease.
But why not just say that anyone who wants a booster can get one? Members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee were outspoken in their opposition. They believe it is too soon.
“The stated goal of this vaccine has been to protect against serious illness,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a paediatrics professor at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, at the meeting. “Data show that these vaccines do exactly that,” he continued. “It’s exactly what you’d anticipate.” Even Pfizer stated that its vaccine was still very effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States, with an efficacy rate of more than 90%.
The company argued that this might not last much longer, but many VRBPAC members were sceptical.They do not believe there is enough evidence to justify booster shots for everyone.”In my opinion, we need this in our arsenal — a booster dose now, particularly for the elderly and (those with) other high-risk conditions — but I share my colleagues’ concern about the scarcity of safety data,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a clinical paediatrics professor at the University of California, San Diego.
“I am hopeful that the CDC will implement this gradually.”Dr. Michael Kurilla, an infectious disease specialist at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, believes Pfizer went too far in extrapolating data from the elderly to the younger population.
However, Fink believes that details on this risk may not be released until after booster doses have been administered to a larger number of people.”We discussed the need for such studies with the vaccine manufacturers,” Fink said.”I don’t think we’d feel comfortable giving it to a 16-year-old for all of the reasons that everyone raised,” Dr. Eric Rubin, chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said.
They believe it is more important to get more people vaccinated the first time.Dr. Cody Meissner, a paediatrics professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, believes boosters will not significantly help control the pandemic.”It is critical that the main message that we continue to send is that everyone needs two doses. Everyone must obtain the primary series “He stated.
“This booster dose is unlikely to make a significant difference in the pandemic’s behaviour.” “It’s a frustrating place to be in when we have more than adequate vaccine supplies in the United States but haven’t been able to achieve the level of coverage that would result in much better control of the pandemic than we have,” said Dr. Melinda Wharton, director of the Immunization Services Division at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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