On Wednesday (20), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — responsible for the inspection and regulation of food and medicine in the United States — approved booster doses of Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) and Moderna vaccines against covid- 19.
Until then, only the Pfizer/BioNTech immunizer could have the third dose applied. In addition, US health authorities indicated that the reinforcement can be done with any of the three formulas, as long as the approved indications are respected.
Before the new guidelines apply to the entire country, a committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to review the FDA authorization on Thursday (21) and release its own findings. Afterwards, it will be necessary the approval of the director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, which could allow millions of Americans to receive the booster doses against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
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Who can get booster doses against covid in the US?
For the time being, the use of booster doses of covid-19 vaccines is still limited in the US. However, the trend is that authorizations will increase as more data arrives on the effectiveness of the measure. In the case of Moderna, half a dose of the immunizing agent was recommended for people who have been fully vaccinated for at least six months and are over 65 years old.
In addition, people over 18 years of age and at high risk of developing severe covid-19 or at high risk of exposure to coronavirus may also receive booster doses of Moderna. This guidance is the same adopted for the Pfizer/BioNTech formula.
Janssen’s recommendations for booster doses of vaccine were more comprehensive. That’s because they can be applied to anyone who has received a single dose of the immunizing agent — people over 18 years old — for at least two months.
“As the pandemic continues to impact the country, science has shown that vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to prevent covid-19, including the more serious consequences of the disease, such as hospitalization and death,” said the commissioner of FDA, Janet Woodcock, in statement.
Mixture of vaccines in the booster
The FDA’s understanding is that any of the three licensed vaccines could be used to boost the immune system in the third dose — or second, depending on the formula. The idea is that using either would simplify the vaccination process, explained Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s vaccine arm, of the measure.
“Being able to switch these vaccines is a good thing. It’s like we do with flu shots. Most people don’t know what brand of flu vaccine they got,” Marks illustrated. According to the FDA official, the agency is already considering reducing the age ranges for booster doses, but it still awaits more data to reinforce the measure’s benefits.
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