Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose authorised for Americans over 50

March 31, 2022
Fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose authorised for Americans over 50

The Head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Peter Marks, has encouraged getting a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for increased protection for high-risk persons. The FDA has already approved a second booster shot or fourth mRNA vaccine dose for American citizens aged 50 years old and above, to be taken at least 4 months after their previous COVID-19 vaccination.

However, the FDA authorisation is much more limited for those under 50 years old, and instead focuses only on those aged 12 and older who have undergone organ transplants, or have chronic medical conditions that leave them in highly immunocompromised states.

The FDA’s latest authorisation statement cites a lower age cut-off than expected following a recent application by biopharmaceutical company Pfizer looking only at boosters for those aged over 65 years – according to data, one in three people between the age of 50 and 65 suffer from pre-existing health conditions that are known to increase their risk of severe COVID-19.

Marks hopes to protect a large population of vulnerable individuals in that age bracket by authorising a fourth vaccine dose.

“Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further,” said Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who announced updated CDC recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

“This is especially important [for those] with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.”

Read: WHO Director-General “appalled” over global COVID-19 vaccine inequity

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Category: Features, Pharmaceuticals

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