FDA gives booster vaccines the green light

For emergency use of booster shots to go into the arms of individuals 18 -64 who are at high- risk for contracting COVID-19
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - All three COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers received FDA approval on Oct. 20 for emergency use of booster shots to go into the arms of individuals 18-64 who are at high-risk for contracting COVID-19.

Last month, the FDA approved booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine for those 65 and over, or adults who have underlying health conditions. Now with this new approval, those 18-64 who have taken Moderna or Pfizer fall under those same requirements. It’s even allowed for those who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccines to get a booster shot without any restrictions.

“It’s like a belt and suspenders for to those people that have suspect immune systems. For instance, Colin Powell that died, he had cancer and he would have been a good candidate for a booster,” said Dr. Keith Williamson, medical director at Midwestern State University.

With this new FDA approval, individuals have an option to mix and match between vaccine brands. However, some health experts say this may not be the best idea.

“Even though the mechanism of action is the same, you’re still having different components with vaccine. So you’re giving the potential to develop antibodies to the vaccine itself,” said Dr. Robert McBroom, medical director of the Wichita Falls - Wichita County Public Health District.

Another requirement for the Moderna and Pfizer single-dose boosters is that the individual must be vaccinated with their primary doses for at least 6 months and for the J&J it’s two months.

“I do see a theoretical benefit to boosters in people with impaired immunity but I think it’s too early to be thinking about boosters for everyone. I think we have to remember that vaccines have only been available for everybody less than a year and we need to see how the primary series works,” said Dr. McBroom.

The CDC still has to give the final green light before booster shots can become recommendations and are made available. There will be a meeting Thursday between an advisory panel and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

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