Authors: BY TYLER DURDEN
After growing chatter over the past week, late on Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for certain people with weakened immune systems, likely the launch of broader efforts to better protect against evasive variants like Delta. The agency said that other fully vaccinated individuals do not need an additional vaccine dose right now, clarifying that the clearance is specifically for solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
“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,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement. She said other people who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and don’t need an additional dose at this time. The agency is reviewing whether an additional dose may be needed in the future, she said.
The decision expanding the authorization of the mRNA shots follows “scientific evidence” that vaccines are less effective at protecting people with weakened immune systems from Covid-19 than the general population. Immunocompromised people who didn’t have an antibody response after two doses of the mRNA vaccines had responses after a third dose, studies indicated, supporting the decision to recommend a third dose. About 2.7% of American adults are immunocompromised, which also includes people who live with HIV or take cancer treatments and other drugs that suppress their immune systems.