Dr. Anthony Fauci strongly advised Sunday that people get a Covid-19 booster vaccine only when the government approves it. This suggests that even though a panel of FDA officials approved Pfizer booster shots only for certain groups this week (FDA panel approval), their recommendation could change as more data becomes available.
At a Senate hearing held in Washington DC on July 20, Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies. Getty Images
The Key Facts
Fauci supported the Biden administration's decision to make booster shots available for all starting September 20. He said that this announcement was contingent upon FDA approval. Although the FDA panel has approved Pfizer/BioNTech booster shot for seniors, people with underlying conditions, and people at higher risk for Covid-19 exposure, Fauci stated on CNN that the FDA would be able to analyze the data in about two to three weeks. Fauci acknowledged that it is human nature for people to get booster shots before they are officially approved. However, government medical experts strongly recommend that people wait for official approval from both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fauci stated on CNN that there is always a risk of getting a Covid-19 booster shot prior to its official approval. This is because studies haven't been done to verify its safety and effectiveness. Although it is unlikely that there will ever be an issue, scientifically speaking you don't want to believe anything.
What to Watch
Based on the FDA panel recommendations, the FDA will now have to decide whether it will approve booster shots of BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for certain groups. Fauci stated that an advisory panel from the CDC would then decide on Pfizer boosters. This decision will be made based on the FDA panels recommendations. White House Chief Of Staff Ron Klain previously stated that the Biden administration was ready to distribute booster shots and make them widely available the same day they are officially approved.
Fauci acknowledged that booster shots are important, and that they are not an option. However, Fauci stressed that the federal government's primary priority is still providing first and second shots for those still unvaccinated. Fauci stated that boosters are not our highest priority. While boosters are important, we believe it is not the most important thing. The absolute top priority is to vaccine the unvaccinated.
Covid-19 booster shots are becoming more important because studies show that vaccine effectiveness may decrease over time. The U.S. booster considerations come after countries such as Israel and other European countries have started to offer booster doses to at most some groups. The U.S. approved third shots in August for immunocompromised patients who received Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. It also announced that the government would be ready to distribute booster shots to the public in September, pending approval. This plan called for people to get their third shot eight months after they have had their first dose. Pfizer booster shots were not approved by the FDA's vaccine advisory committee on Friday. However, they were unanimously approved for vulnerable groups. Moderna and Johnson & Johnsons data are still not available for consideration. The Pfizer vaccine was the only item on which the panels voted.
FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Against Pfizer's Covid BoostersExcept for People Over 65 (Forbes).
Where can you get a Covid-19 booster shot? (Forbes)
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