World / FDA clears Moderna and Pfizer's COVID-19 booster shots for all US adults

Vikrant Shekhawat : Nov 20, 2021, 11:09 AM
Washington: The United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for the control and supervision of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines, on Friday, opened up booster shots manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna to all adults – expanding the government's campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising infections that may worsen with the holidays.

What the latest decision, taken by the FDA, implies is that either of the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 booster shots can now be administered to anyone 18 or older six months after their last dose – regardless of which vaccine they had at first. 

However, there still remains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which must yet agree to expand the Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. A panel of experts who advise the CDC on vaccine policies are expected to review the evidence and make further guidance for administering booster shots at a meeting on Friday afternoon.

If the CDC agrees, tens of millions more Americans could have three doses of protection ahead of the new year. Anyone who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can already get a booster.

According to the CDC, more than a third of fully vaccinated senior citizens in the US had already received their booster doses as of Thursday, and 17 per cent of fully vaccinated adults overall have had an additional shot of vaccine.

Multiple states in the US –  including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and even New York City – have already opted to make booster doses broadly available. In many of those areas, cases are climbing after a slowdown in the summer’s delta-variant-fueled surge.

All three Covid-19 vaccines used in the US still offer strong protection against severe illness including hospitalisation and death, but protection against infection can wane with time.