Reports are circulating that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will likely authorize booster doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for all adults ahead of a scheduled Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel meeting on Friday.
Quoting people familiar with the FDA’s plans, the New York Times reports that the move could come Thursday. If it does, the impact would be wide-ranging, expanding the number of eligible Americans by tens of millions.
If the CDC gives its approval, then people wanting the Pfizer booster could possibly get theirs as early as this weekend.
Pfizer may be the first in line to make this request, but it won’t be the last. It’s anticipated that Moderna will also submit a request for the FDA to expand eligibility for its booster. The approval to mix and match vaccines had already been given clearance by both the CDC and the FDA for all three sanctioned boosters that are offered by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
States are getting behind the booster shot campaign
On a federal level, the U.S. government is limiting who can receive a COVID-19 booster shot. However, there are a number of states that are taking matters into their own hands and trying to prevent a spike in cases before the holidays by offering boosters to anyone aged 18 or older.
It was California that made the first move, firing off a letter to local health officials and vaccine providers to direct them to let patients decide whether or not a booster is appropriate.
“Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster” if the person is 18 or older and has waited the required period after their first vaccine series, the letter said.
Officials in New York City, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Rhode Island, Louisiana, and West Virginia quickly followed with their own booster endorsements, and more cities and states are likely to follow. Reading between the lines of a news conference given by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the Garden State is probably next.
“If you’re in doubt and you meet the waiting period, just get a booster. Choose the side of greater protection,” Murphy said. “With the holidays coming up, we need as many people boosted as possible. It’s that simple.”