FDA panel recommends Moderna boosters for same populations as Pfizer boosters

The FDA's vaccine advisory committee voted Oct. 14 to recommend COVID-19 booster shots for Moderna recipients for the same groups eligible for Pfizer boosters. 

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommends that those who got a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine be eligible for a booster shot that is half the dosage of the first two shots, given at least six months after the second dose. Eligible groups include people ages 65 and older and people ages 18 and older who are at high risk due to medical conditions or their jobs, the same populations that became eligible for a Pfizer booster last month. 

Committee members said they had hoped Moderna would present more robust data to support the need for a booster dose, but that they voted to recommend a booster because the FDA set a precedent by authorizing boosters for Pfizer's vaccine, The New York Times reported. 

The FDA still must make a final decision on whether to authorize Moderna boosters, and it is expected to follow the committee's recommendations. 

Some committee members questioned the need for Moderna boosters, as some studies have shown that the effectiveness of Moderna's COVID-19 against severe disease and hospitalization holds up longer than Pfizer's, the Times reported. 

Moderna argued that boosters of its shot should be authorized to prevent infection and mild to moderate disease rather than for severe disease or hospitalization. 

The drugmaker said the mean antibody levels of participants in its trial was 1.8 times higher after a booster shot than it was after the second dose, which meets the FDA's criteria, according to the Times. But a booster raised neutralizing antibodies at least fourfold in 87.9 percent of participants, falling short of the FDA's requirement of 88.4 percent. 

The FDA's vaccine committee will vote Oct. 15 on recommending Johnson & Johnson boosters. 

Read the full Times' article here


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