SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet to discuss Pfizer’s application for a third “booster” dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in people 16 and older who are not immunocompromised on September 17th.
“A booster would give a little jump to the immune system to say, ‘Hey, here’s this virus again,’ so make antibodies in other parts of your immune system to get ready if the virus comes around and tries to infect you,” Baystate Health infectious disease doctor, Daniel Skiest told 22News.
In August people with a “severely weakened immune systems” were eligible for the booster shot due to less protection from the first two doses. President Biden originally said that starting September 20th non-immunocompromised, fully vaccinated people can start to get the Pfizer booster shot. However, there’s currently no guidance on who would be eligible for the shot, so he’s now leaving the date up to the health experts.
Dr. Skiest told 22News there’s debate among scientists about if a booster is even necessary right now for everyone. “We don’t have good data that shows how long it lasts. We don’t know if you need a booster for sure and if so what’s the optimal timing,” he said.
Currently two top FDA experts say there’s not enough evidence for booster shot usage. “[But] some people say well we should get it because it might help,” Dr. Skiest said.
During the pandemic the FDA has typically had their meetings on Fridays with the CDC following suit on weekends, which means we could potentially hear a decision about the booster shot by Monday.
Some fully vaccinated people are waiting for the results of the discussions to make their decision on the third shot. “At this point I’m going to wait for it to be more approved or more things fine-tuned before I take it,” Joe Ott told 22News in West Springfield.
Those currently eligible have to have their second dose of a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine at least eight months ago to get the booster. Modern’s application for a third “booster” shot is still in review.