Authorization for a second booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccines is sought out by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech for individuals 65 years and older.
The pharmaceutical giants plan to seek emergency authorization after having collected “real-world data” in Isreal, one of the few countries that authorized a second booster for older people, as reported by the Washington Post, who first broke the news on this development.
It is not clear what the Israeli data shows in Pfizer’s submission to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek a second booster for older adults.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have shown that two initial doses and the booster shot fade with time. However, officials say vaccines still provide protection for most people against severe illness, hospitalization, and even death.
In April, the FDA plans to convene with outside advisors in early April to consider whether there should be an October or November campaign encouraging some or all adults to receive a secondary booster and whether the current vaccines should be modified to fight against new variants.
Pfizer is looking at how a fourth dose performs in its own study of about 600 people. Officials from Moderna have also predicted a need for the fourth dose among immunocompromised individuals.
Although COVID-19 cases are on a downward trend in the United States, Europe has seen a rise in cases in recent weeks largely attributed to the prevalence of a “stealth” subvariant of the omicron strain.
The new subvariant would be the latest to emerge since the beginning of the pandemic. The omicron variant was the most transmissible and overtook the delta variant, which surpassed the alpha variant, all mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus first emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.