New Delhi: Pfizer and BioNTech informed on Tuesday about seeking emergency approval for second booster shot of their Covid vaccine for people age 65 and older. While asking to authorise additional booster dose of their covid-19 vaccine for seniors, they cited data from Israel that suggests older adults would benefit, according to AP report.
At present, the US urges two primary shots followed by a booster dose in later months for everyone age 12 and older. However, the new application aims to add a fourth shot only for the over-65 population that is most affected by the pandemic.
Pfizer based its new application on data from Israel, which already was offering a second booster to people age 60 and older and health care workers.
The approval would be given by The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. Once approved, it will be pertinent as to when seniors would be advised to gear up for the fourth dose.
Even as the authorities believe that vaccinations continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, they haven’t disaaproved that milder infections especially those due to the omicron mutant.
As the Covid-19 cases have declined after the omicron surge, public health experts are considering measures if a new variant crops up or, barring that, whether to try shoring up coronavirus protection in the fall at the same time people get flu vaccinations.
Speaking to CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla hinted at the fourth shot and the company’s plans .
“The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths. It’s not that good against infections,” he said. “But we are just submitting those data to the FDA and then we will see what the experts also will say outside Pfizer.”
In the US, the shots’ effectiveness, particularly against milder infections, typically wanes about six months after the last dose. The initiative for a third shot came after it became clear the vaccines weren’t as strong against the omicron mutant as they were against earlier versions of the virus.
However, a fourth dose in the US is only recommended to people with severely weakened immune systems, who need three doses to begin with for the best chance at any protection.
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