FDA Approves Pfizer’s Second Booster, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for Adults 50 and Over – CBS Pittsburgh

By Brenda Goodman, CNN

(CNN) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended emergency use approvals for the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to allow adults age 50 and older to receive a second booster shot as early as four months after their first booster dose of a Covid vaccine can -19 vaccine.

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The move extends the availability of additional booster vaccines to healthy older adults. The FDA had previously allowed second booster shots for people 12 years and older with severe immunodeficiency, beginning four months after their first booster shot.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to follow suit with what it calls a permissive recommendation — a statement that the syringes can be used in this age group for those who want them. However, the agency is not expected to officially endorse the recordings.

There is general scientific agreement that third doses help boost immunity against serious illness from the virus that causes Covid-19. However, the science is far from decided if, or even when, a fourth dose might be needed, as vaccines continue to offer high levels of protection against hospitalization and death from Covid-19 even as disease protection wears off.

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Much of the evidence examining the safety and effectiveness of a second booster shot comes from Israel, which has been recommending a fourth dose of the coronavirus vaccine for adults aged 18 and over since late January.

In a large study of more than half a million adults over the age of 60, those who received a second booster or fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine were 78% less likely to die during the Omicron wave than those who did a third shot at least four months earlier. But the number of deaths was relatively low in both groups. After 40 days of follow-up, there were a total of 232 deaths among nearly 234,000 people who received just three doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, compared to 92 deaths among 328,000 people.

A smaller study of health care workers, which also included younger adults, found that the fourth booster shot was safe and returned antibodies to the same levels achieved after the third dose. But fourth doses were only moderately effective — about 30 to 40% — at preventing disease. And most workers who fell ill still had high viral loads, suggesting they were able to transmit the infection to others.

Additional studies from the UK show that a booster dose wears off the antibody boost very quickly within a few weeks. Therefore, some experts believe that given the resources available and the diminishing appetite to continue receiving more and more boosters, the United States should wait until there is a clear threat of a new wave of infections to introduce fourth doses.

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