FDA Reduces Moderna Boost Waiting Period To 5 Months For Adults

A healthcare provider prepares a syringe containing Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the COVID-19 pandemic in Manhattan in New York, January 29, 2021.

Mike Segar | Reuters

The FDA on Friday allowed adults 18 and older who had been vaccinated with Moderna to be boosted five months after the second dose, cutting the waiting period by a month.

Earlier this week, the FDA allowed all individuals 12 and older who received the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine to receive a booster dose at least five months after the second dose, rather than six.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention originally recommended Moderna boosters for adults in October. The CDC downgraded eligibility for Pfizer boosters for people 12 and older on Wednesday.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are most commonly administered in the United States. The shorter waiting time for booster vaccines is because data show that two doses do not provide reliable protection against symptomatic omicron infection, the dominant variant in the United States, although they still provide good protection. against a serious illness.

Real-world data from the United Kingdom show boosters are up to 75% effective in preventing symptomatic omicron infection two weeks after being vaccinated, according to a report released last week by the UK Health Safety Agency.

“Vaccinations are our best defense against COVID-19, including circulating variants, and shortening the time between completion of the primary batch and booster vaccinations can help reduce waning immunity,” said Dr. Peter Marks, FDA team leader. for vaccine safety.

Moderna CEO Stefan Bansel said in an interview yesterday at a Goldman Sachs event that a fourth dose may be required at some point because the protection provided by boosters is also likely to weaken over time.

“I’ll be surprised when we get this data in the coming weeks, which persists well over time — I expected it to not be good,” Bunsel said, referring to the power of the booster shots.

The UK Health Safety Agency found that the booster protection begins to decline after about four weeks. Boosters were 55% to 70% effective in preventing infection by weeks five to nine and 40% to 50% at 10 weeks after vaccination.

Pfizer CEO Albert Burla told CNBC last month that people are likely to need a fourth dose and may need a shot earlier than expected due to the virulence of the omicron.

The United States is facing an unprecedented wave of Covid infections right now, with an average of more than 600,000 new cases reported every day in seven days, according to an analysis of CNBC data from Johns Hopkins University. This is 72% more than a week earlier, and this is a pandemic record.

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