FDA approves Pfizer, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all US adults

CDC could clear final hurdle Friday
Virus Outbreak Pfizer Booster
Posted at 8:34 AM, Nov 19, 2021

WASHINGTON — Pfizer and Moderna say the Food and Drug Administration have opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, letting them choose another dose of either vaccine.

The move expands the government’s booster campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that may worsen with the holidays.

Cindy Williams, the Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer for Riverside Health System in Newport News, encourages those above the age of 65, those living in tight quarters such as nursing homes, and people with health concerns to get their shots before heading home for the holidays.

Williams also says we can likely expect booster shots to act like flu shots — changing annually and geared towards the varients around that specific year.

"I think we're gonna need to look at COVID more like the flu than the way we look at shingle or measles," she said. "It is a viral disease, it will continue to mutate, there will continue to be variants. And more than likely, there will continue to be the need to get boosted."

Boosters shots are available six months after someone receives their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, and two months after Johnson & Johnson.

Those receiving booster shots can also switch providers.

Meaning, if someone originally got the Pfizer vaccine, they can get either the Pfizer or Moderna booster shot.

Those that received the J&J vaccine will need to get either the Pfizer or Moderna booster shot.

"Getting a booster with mRNA, so Pfizer or Moderna, to boost J&J gives you a higher antibody response than boosting J&J with J&J," explained Williams.

There’s one more step: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must agree to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. Its scientific advisers are set to debate on Friday.

If the CDC agrees, tens of millions more Americans could have three doses of protection ahead of the new year.

Earlier in the fall, the FDA and the CDC approved booster shots of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for people aged 65 and up, people who have underlying health conditions that make them susceptible to the virus and those who are at an increased risk of contracting the virus because of their job or living situation.

Regulators later approved plans that allow for the mixing and matching of vaccine brands for booster shots.

The CDC reports that more than 32 million Americans have already gotten a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.