A key part of Biden's plan to combat Covid is at risk as FDA meets to debate booster shots
A key FDA panel meets Friday to debate and vote at around 2:30 p.m. ET on Pfizer and BioNTech's application to offer booster shots to the general public.
It sets the stage for a tense meeting Friday as the Biden administration has said it wants to begin offering booster shots to the general public as early as next week, pending authorization from the FDA. The move is part of the administration'sbroader plan
to confront a higher number of Covid cases in the U.S. fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant.The nation's top health regulators, including CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, already endorsed Biden's booster plan in August. While the FDA hasn't always followed the advice of its committee, it often does. The agency surprised investors and the public earlier this year when it departed from the advice of its independent panel of outside experts to approve Biogen's Alzheimer's drug.
If the committee does not deliver a favorable vote, it could force the Biden administration to shift gears on its plan, perhaps limiting third shots to certain groups of Americans, such as those age 65 and older who are known to be at higher risk of severe illness, said Lawrence Gostin, director of the World Health Organization Center on National and Global Health Law. headtopics.com
The FDA group could give Biden's booster plan a "cool reception," Gostin said. "While there is good evidence of potentially waning vaccine immunity, two mRNA doses are holding up robustly by preventing serious disease, hospitalizations and deaths."
The vote puts the committee in an "awkward position" as the administration has already announced they would begin distributing boosters the week of Sept. 20, said Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious disease at Northwell Health."I'm sure they're not going to be unanimous at all in what they've said because we already know they're not unanimous," he said.
Scientists and other health experts had already been critical ofall Americans 16 and over when senior health officials outlined the plan last month. The scientists and other experts said the data the federal health officials cited wasn't compelling and characterizing the administration's push for boosters as premature.Read more: CNBC »
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FDA Questions Need For Pfizer Covid-19 Booster Shot Ahead Of Vote FridayScientists at the FDA said Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine seems to last long enough that a booster shot may not add much protection
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