US Advisory Panel Endorses Moderna's COVID-19 Booster Shot for Older, At-Risk Persons

© REUTERS / Dado RuvicTest tubes are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration
Test tubes are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.10.2021
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Back in September, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shot for those aged 65 and over, and others at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
On Thursday, an independent advisory panel to the FDA unanimously moved to recommend a booster dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for a number of vulnerable groups, including those aged 65 and older.
The 19-0 decision by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) comes after the panel met to review safety data for the follow-up shot.
The VRBPAC recommended the booster for those who are between the ages of 18 and 64, and also at high risk for COVID-19-related illness. The panel's recommendation was also extended to those who are exposed to the contagious disease due to their line of work.
Those recommended for the Moderna booster are the same individuals covered in last month's Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization.
Moderna has recommended that half-dose boosters be administered, while the Pfizer-BioNTech booster is a full dose. Boosters can be administered six months after the prime dose.
Jacqueline Miller, head of Moderna’s infectious-disease therapeutic sector, has presented data showing that, at over five months after vaccination, Moderna's two-shot regimen remains 93% effective in preventing COVID-19-related illnesses and 98% effective in combating serious cases, according to the Washington Post.
While experts remain divided on the necessity of a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, US President Joe Biden and his administration are pushing to make booster shots a priority for all Americans.
The US president touted the nation's COVID-19 vaccination progress during a Thursday address to the public.

"We’re making progress. Nationally, daily cases are down 47 percent. Hospitalizations are down 38 percent over the past six weeks," Biden said, crediting vaccinations for the lowered numbers.

He added that related COVID-19 "vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us."
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