The drug regulatory agency in the United States (FDA, for its acronym in English) plans to authorize this Thursday the booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus for all adults, according to the Associated Press. Until now, only those over 65 years of age, people at high risk of serious illness and workers highly exposed to contracting the virus can receive this third dose, so there are between 30% to 40% of Americans excluded, according to the estimates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet this Friday to discuss whether to give the green light to the measure and, if so, starting this weekend all adults will already be able to schedule a appointment to receive the third puncture if they have received the second at least six months ago.
Those who have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine must wait six months to request the third injection, while people vaccinated with the single dose of Johnson & Johnson only have to wait two months. To convince agencies to approve the booster dose for all adults, Pfizer presented the preliminary results of a study on the effectiveness of the booster dose in about 10,000 people. Research concluded that an extra dose can restore protection against infection by up to 95%.
The FDA is not expected to go to the expert panel that has advised it throughout the pandemic to make this decision, according to The New York Times. In September, the agency rejected Pfizer-BioNTech’s request to extend booster dose eligibility to all adults. However, some cities have implemented administration policies along these lines, although it is not an official policy. In the last week, California, New Mexico, Arkansas, West Virginia and Colorado expanded vaccines to all adults, something similar to what was established in New York. Almost 31 million Americans have already received an extra dose to the full schedule (consisting of two doses for Pzifer and Moderna and one dose for Janssen).
Pill against covid
Pfizer also asked the US drug regulator on Tuesday for authorization of its coronavirus pill called Paxlovid. According to the company, based on clinical trials, the antiviral drug is 89% effective in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death for those infected with covid. The study turned to people who were unvaccinated and prone to the worst risks from the virus due to their age or health problems, such as obesity. The multinational seeks to make the drug available to adults who have mild to moderate covid infections and are at risk of becoming seriously ill.
The FDA is already reviewing a pill from the pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), which halved the hospitalizations and deaths of infected patients who participated in its clinical trial. The agency has convened a panel of independent experts for a meeting to make a decision on the pill at the end of the month. The US government has bought 1.7 million doses for 1,200 million dollars (about 1,034 million euros).
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.