FDA to vote on booster COVID-19 shot for immunocompromised

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The FDA is expected to vote soon on whether to approve a COVID-19 booster shot for people who are immunocompromised.

It’s very likely that the FDA will amend the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, to allow people with weakened immune systems to get a third dose. About 3 percent of people in the U.S. have a weakened immune system due to disease, organ transplants, or medications.

Baystate Health’s Chief of Infectious Diseases division, Dr. Armando Paez, explained why they are more at risk for severe infection, even after getting vaccinated, “Immunocompromised individuals don’t respond as well as the general population. So the level of antibodies, many of them are undetectable even after vaccination.”

Dr. Paez said the FDA still needs to lay out the specific guidelines for the booster shot, and how it should be deployed. He added that there could be a need for booster shots in the future for the general public, if a variant emerges that is resistant to the available vaccines.

The FDA is expected to authorize the booster, which also needs the approval of a CDC advisory group, before doctors can start prescribing extra doses.

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