FDA clears Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all adults


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The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded emergency use authorization for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, clearing the booster doses for all fully vaccinated adults 18 and older. The move opens booster eligibility to millions more people and gives official backing to steps some where already taking

The expanded FDA authorization allows for a booster dose of either vaccine in adults six months after completion of the primary two-dose Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines or at least two months after completion of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meeting later Friday to discuss clinical recommendations for both booster shots. 

“Authorizing the use of a single booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older helps to provide continued protection against COVID-19, including the serious consequences that can occur, such as hospitalization and death,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, in a release.

The COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death, but multiple studies show that the effectiveness of vaccines may start to decline after six to eight months. Previously, Pfizer and Moderna booster shots were authorized for some vaccinated adults, including people 65 and older, adults with underlying medical conditions and adults at a high risk of infection due to their job, such as hospital workers, teachers or grocery store workers. 

Prior to Friday, at least 12 states were already encouraging residents 18 and older to get a booster shot if they got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago, or received their second Pfizer or Moderna shot more than six months ago.

Last month, the FDA and CDC recommended booster shots for all recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine, allowing people to “mix and match” by getting any of the three available COVID-19 vaccines for their booster dose.

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