FDA approves booster COVID-19 shots for the immunocompromised

Booster shots aren't yet authorized for healthy Americans.

Posted: Aug 12, 2021 10:59 PM
Updated: Aug 13, 2021 9:50 AM

U.S. health regulators have authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in people with weakened immune systems to better protect them from the virus.

The announcement Thursday by the Food and Drug Administration applies to millions of Americans who take immune-suppressing medicines because of organ transplants, cancer or other disorders. The decision does not apply to otherwise healthy individuals. Health authorities are closely monitoring if and when the general population will need a booster shot but say for now, the vaccines continue to be highly effective in most healthy people.

The boosters still need to be recommended by the CDC before they can be administered. Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a member of the CDC's expert advisory panel that will vote Friday on the details of exactly who should get the third dose and when, said he supported at least allowing immunocompromised Americans to get boosters while the CDC continues to monitor the data.

"We really need to help this population out more," Sanchez said at a CDC meeting in July, when the committee met to discuss the issue.

The CDC panel is expected to vote to recommend the third dose when it meets Friday at 11 a.m. and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will likely sign off after a Friday afternoon vote.

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