7 updates on COVID-19 booster shots

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Since the FDA authorized a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised people in August and a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for a broader population Sept. 22, more than 7.7 million people have gotten a booster shot, according to CDC data.

A third dose of the Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for Americans who received their second dose at least six months ago and are ages 65 and older, have a job that increases their risk of infection or are at high risk of severe COVID-19. 

Seven updates on COVID-19 booster shots in the U.S.: 

  1. Preliminary research shows that fully vaccinated people who have had a breakthrough COVID-19 infection have strong protection and don't need to rush to get a booster dose. A number of preliminary studies have indicated a bout with COVID-19 after full vaccination essentially acts as an extra dose, prompting the immune system to generate B cells and T cells.

  2. As of Oct. 6, more people on average were getting a booster shot each day than the number of people receiving a first dose of the vaccine. 

  1. Prominent physicians and scientists have asked the White House to scale back its booster plan, saying current data on COVID-19 vaccines' efficacy doesn't justify the broad use of boosters and the shots should only be offered to Americans at high risk of severe COVID-19. 

  1. Johnson & Johnson filed for emergency use authorization from the FDA Oct. 5 for a booster dose of its vaccine for people ages 18 and older. The drugmaker said its submission to the FDA to support authorization of a booster includes data from a phase 3 trial that found a booster dose given 56 days after the first dose was 94 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19. The trial also showed the booster was 100 percent effective against severe or critical COVID-19 at least 14 days after vaccination.

  2. The FDA said Oct. 1 that its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet Oct. 14 to discuss granting emergency use authorization to Modena for a third dose of its vaccine in people ages 18 and older. On Oct. 15, the committee will meet to discuss authorizing a booster of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine for people 18 and older. The same day, the committee plans to discuss allowing people to receive booster doses produced by a different drugmaker than the manufacturer of the original vaccine they received.

  3. Many pharmacies are administering COVID-19 booster shots to people without requiring proof of eligibility for the shot under CDC standards.

  4. A CDC report released Sept. 28 found that side effects of a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine are similar to those experienced after a second dose. 


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