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Decision on Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for all could come this week

Posted at 4:15 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 17:18:04-05

(WXYZ) — Last week, Pfizer asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its COVID-19 vaccine booster for all adults aged 18 and up. A decision from the agency is expected this week.

The would be Pfizer’s second request for boosters. But this time, the FDA is not asking for input from its independent vaccine advisors.

Back in September, Pfizer had requested the FDA amend its emergency use authorization to include boosters for people aged 16 and up. Now they’re asking for 18 and up.

The FDA feels that Pfizer’s latest request doesn’t raise new questions. So, they don’t need to have more discussions with its panel of experts.

This also means that the FDA can make a decision sooner rather than later. I expect we’ll hear no later than Thursday because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to meet Friday to discuss Pfizer’s booster.

Typically, they only meet if the FDA has given its approval. So, if both the FDA and the CDC give the thumbs up, then tens of millions of Americans will be eligible to get Pfizer’s third dose.

Right now, only adults 65 and up, people with underlying health conditions and the folks with jobs that place them at higher risk — like me — are eligible for Pfizer’s booster. Unless of course, you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, then anyone who got the one-shot dose is eligible.

I’m an avid supporter of the FDA and the CDC. Decisions are based on science after analyzing and weighing the pros and cons. And studies have shown that our vaccines are protecting people from severe disease and hospitalization and show that most who end up hospitalized are those who are not vaccinated.

But we also know that vaccines wane over time. And they don’t protect as well against milder and asymptomatic disease, which opens the door to more breakthrough infections, more people overall getting infected and more spread. Whereas Pfizer’s latest study that included 10,000 participants showed that its booster shot restored protection against asymptomatic disease to around 95%.

As for some states not waiting and allowing boosters for all adults, I can understand that. We’re heading into winter and cases in regions across the U.S. are seeing spikes, just like what’s happening here in Michigan. And with the holidays coming up — which I’ve talked about — we will very likely see even more spread and higher case numbers.

So some states are trying to get ahead by allowing concerned residents to get the third dose. Again, I support the FDA and the CDC. And I know they’ll look at the data and make the best decision for Americans.