White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci declared this week that data out of Israel shows a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is “absolutely essential” for all adults to fight the outgoing pandemic.
“When you look at the data from Israel, it’s very clear that (the booster) reverses some of the waning effects that you see in people who have been vaccinated for six months or more,” Fauci told The Daily podcast. the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases added that the shots for vaccinated adults “are going to be an absolutely essential component of our response. Not a bonus, not a luxury, but an absolutely essential part of the program.”
Fauci’s comments come as Pfizer asked federal regulators to allow boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age or older. Boosters could restore protection against symptomatic infection to roughly 95 percent with similar side effects to the company’s first two vaccines, according to Pfizer’s latest study.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) spokesperson Alison Hunt stated that the agency will review Pfizer’s application “as expeditiously as possible.” Hunt stopped short of providing a timeline for a decision.
The Biden administration had originally envisioned boosters for all adults, but faced a stinging setback in September when the FDA’s scientific advisers rejected extra Pfizer doses for everyone. The panel wasn’t convinced that young healthy people needed another dose, particularly when most of the world’s population remains unvaccinated, and instead recommended boosters just for certain groups — one of a series of decisions about extra doses for all of the three vaccines used in the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.