FDA panel to review Pfizer booster shots

Coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Should those who have already received two doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine be able to get a booster shot?  

That’s the question coming before an FDA panel on Friday.  

Pfizer makes the case that while its vaccine still protects against severe disease, immunity wanes against mild infections after 6 to 8 months. 

“Everyone agrees a booster may be helpful. The real disagreement is the timing and will all segments of the population benefit the same way. I think we haven’t answered those questions yet,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong said. 

UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says data from Israel suggests a booster might be helpful for older people. 

“Maybe over 60 if you want to follow the letter of science from the Israeli study and immune-compromised should get it,” Dr. Chin-Hong said. 

He says what’s not known is how long that booster will last, nor is it clear whether those under 60 need to get it at all. 

“In my own experience, being on the inpatient wards last week the only vaccinated people I have seen personally at the hospital are those who are over 70 and those who are immune-compromised but more than 90% are unvaccinated,” Dr. Chin-Hong said. 

Dr. Chin-Hong says he believes more data is needed to see if those under 60 need the booster and he says he would prefer that data come from the U.S. because unlike Israel, which is highly vaccinated, close to 80 million people in the U.S. remain unvaccinated.   

In addition to the FDA, a CDC panel will meet next week in hopes of narrowing down the area range of those eligible to get a booster.

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