The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized a second booster of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna for adults 50 years and older, announcing that a fourth shot improves protection against severe Covid-19.
The agency also authorized a second Pfizer-BioNTech booster for immunocompromised children older than 12 and a second Moderna booster for immunocompromised adults over 18 years old.
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from Covid-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in a statement.
“Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals.”
Pfizer says additional booster is “necessary”
Earlier in March, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that it will be necessary to receive an additional fourth booster shot against Covid-19.
During an interview on CBS he said that “It is necessary, a fourth booster right now…The protection that you are getting from the third, it is good enough, actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths.”
“It’s not that good against infections, but doesn’t last very long,” he added. “But we are just submitting those data to the FDA, and then we will see what the experts will also say outside Pfizer.”
Bourla also reiterated his company’s goal of creating a vaccine that is effective against all variants of COVID-19, for longer periods of time.
Striving for an annual vaccine
Back in January, Bourla had said that people getting Covid-19 booster shots every four to five months is “not a good scenario” and argued that an annual vaccine would be a better approach to fighting the virus.
“This will not be a good scenario,” he said when asked about people getting booster shots every four to five months per the wire service. “What I’m hoping (is) that we will have a vaccine that you will have to do once a year.”
“Once a year – it is easier to convince people to do it. It is easier for people to remember,” he continued. “So from a public health perspective, it is an ideal situation.”