US licenses booster vaccine for elderly people

The FDA allows the booster Pfizer vaccine for people over 65 years of age and certain high-risk people after 6 months of getting two doses.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday announced that people over 65 who are prone to serious illnesses and work in high-risk jobs will be allowed to receive a booster dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. The announcement means that tens of millions of Americans are now eligible for a third dose of the vaccine after getting two shots six months ago.

The decision comes after an independent panel of experts was convened by the FDA last week to vote on it. However, the panel rejected Pfizer’s initial proposal, which was supported by the administration of President Joe Biden, which included booster shots for all people 16 years of age and older.

A Covid-19 vaccination site in Martinsburg, West Virginia on March 11.  Photo: Reuters.

A Covid-19 vaccination site in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on March 11. Photo: Reuters.

The panel of immunizationists, infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists concluded that the benefits of booster shots for this group of children do not outweigh the possible risks to health, especially in men. .

A separate panel of experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is debating the booster dose and is likely to recommend an expanded list of injections.

The US booster dose plan comes as the Delta strain is causing serious outbreaks in many states. The country is still the largest epidemic area in the world with more than 43 million infections and more than 699,000 deaths since the outbreak.

The US has vaccinated at least one dose for 75% of the population aged 12 years and older, of which 64% received the full dose, and allowed booster doses for immunocompromised people from last month. More than 2 million people have received the third dose of the vaccine in the US.

Thanh Tam (Follow AFP, Reuters)

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