Politics Walensky: CDC will 'not articulate a preference' for which booster to get
FDA advisory committee to consider boosters for Moderna, J&J COVID vaccines
People who received Moderna and J&J COVID vaccines have been in limbo about booster shots. A key FDA committee will recommend if they are necessary.Members of the federal advisory panel, called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, also will hear data about the likely safety and effectiveness of giving people booster shots from a different vaccine manufacturer than their original doses.
Rochelle Walensky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, said on Friday that the agency will "not articulate a preference" for which booster shot vaccine recipients should get, after the CDC officially approved the mix-and-match approach.
The CDC director, who signed off on mix-and-match boosters Thursday night, said people eligible for a booster can decide which brand of vaccine to get as all three Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized vaccines are "extraordinarily safe" and "effective."
FDA mulling to allow 'mix-and-match' COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: report
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to announce that it will allow vaccinated individuals to get booster shots from vaccine makers that differ from their initial doses, The New York Times reported. Sources familiar with the matter told the Times that the agency could announce the decision as early as this week. The FDA would not recommend one COVID-19 shot over the other, though it may note that using the same COVID-19 vaccine for the booster shot as the first two doses may be preferable.
At the same time, she said it's "perfectly fine" for recipients of all three vaccines to have a "preference" to get the same vaccine they initially received.
"We will not articulate a preference," Walensky said during a briefing.
"The recommendations made yesterday are yet another demonstration of our fundamental commitment to all of you to never lose sight of our collective goal to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19," she added.
Walensky predicts that most people will stick with their original vaccination series, but said "there may be some people who might prefer another vaccine over the one that they received, and the current CDC recommendations now make that possible."
But the CDC cautioned that the booster doses are not the solution to ultimately ending the pandemic.
Pfizer says testing shows booster restores full protection against COVID-19
Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Thursday that a booster shot of their coronavirus vaccine restores full protection against COVID-19.The companies said that a late-stage clinical trial found that the booster was 95.6 percent effective against symptomatic COVID-19. The efficacy results are the first from any randomized, controlled trial of a COVID-19 booster, they said. "These results provide further evidence of the benefits of boosters as we aim to keep people well-protected against this disease," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
"As you have heard me say before, we will not boost our way out of this pandemic and no vaccine, even a boosted vaccine, provides 100 percent protection," Walensky said. "So, even after your boost, it remains important for us to remain smart about our prevention strategies while we still have over 93 percent of our U.S. counties with high or moderate community transmission."
In addition to mix-and-match boosters, the FDA and CDC gave permission for certain Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients to get another dose, expanding access to boosters for millions. White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients siad the move made 70 million eligible as of Friday for the extra dose.
More than 120 million Americans will become eligible "in the coming months" he said.
But because not all people are eligible for a booster shot, Walensky said the definition of fully vaccinated will not change. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second mRNA dose or after their single Johnson & Johnson dose.
"We may need to update our definition of fully vaccinated in the future, but right now what I would say is if you're eligible for a booster go ahead and get your booster," she said.
The FDA and CDC currently permit adult Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna recipients who are aged 65 and older, living in long-term care facilities, have certain underlying conditions and are at increased risk due to their occupation to get a booster dose at least six months after the initial series.
All Johnson & Johnson recipients can get their booster at least two months after their single shot.
Overnight Health Care: WHO calls for pause on COVID-19 booster shots in wealthier countries | Delta's peak is difficult to project, but could come this month .
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. Fall Out Boy is pulling out of two shows due to a positive test result. But Green Day and Weezer are still on. If you have any tips, email us at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.Follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8. Today: A new poll shows many of the unvaccinated are living in a different world from the vaccinated. The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on booster shots in wealthy nations, and it's hard to tell when infections from the delta variant might peak.