The US vaccination drive for COVID-19 is at stake in a major new stage as government advisers recommended additional vaccinations of Pfizer’s vaccine to millions of older people or other vulnerable Americans on Thursday. Was there.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers said boosters should be provided to people over the age of 65, residents of nursing homes, and people aged 50-64 who are at risk for potential health problems. An additional dose will be given at least 6 months after the last shot of Pfizer.
It was much harder to decide who else would get it.There is little evidence of that Young people If there is a risk of weakened immunity, the panel provided an option amplifier For people between the ages of 18 and 49 who have chronic health problems and want them.
However, the advisor refused to go any further and opened the booster to healthy front-line healthcare professionals who were not at risk of serious illness but wanted to avoid even mild infections.
“It might be better to say give it to everyone over the age of 18. We have a very effective vaccine and it seems to say,” It’s not working. ” It is a thing. It’s working. ” Dr. Pablo Sanchez of The Ohio State University helped thwart the widest range of booster options.
Still, getting the first unvaccinated shot was a top priority, and the panel wrestled with whether the booster discussion was distracting from that goal.
All three COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States provide high protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death, despite the prevalence of highly contagious delta variants. However, only about 182 million Americans are fully vaccinated, accounting for only 55% of the population.
“We can give people boosters, but that’s not the real answer to this pandemic,” said Dr. Helen Kape Talbot of Vanderbilt University. “The hospital is full because people are not vaccinated. We are refusing to care for people who deserve care because they are full of unvaccinated COVID-positive patients.”
Thursday’s decision represented a dramatic reduction in the Biden administration’s plan announced last month, with boosters being distributed to almost everyone to strengthen protection. At the end of Wednesday, Food and Drug Administrations like the CDC approved Pfizer boosters for a much more targeted slice of the American population than the White House envisioned.
It is up to the CDC to set the final US policy on who qualifies for additional shots. The CDC usually follows the advisor’s recommendations. The final decision from the agency was expected late Thursday.
The booster program represents a significant change in the country’s vaccination drive. The UK and Israel have already given a third round shot against strong opposition from the World Health Organization that poor countries are not sufficient for the initial dose.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, held a meeting on Thursday, emphasizing that unvaccinated vaccination remains the number one goal “here in the United States and around the world.”
Walensky admitted that the data on who really needs a booster right away is “not perfect.” “Still, they collectively form our paintings, and these are what we have at this point to make decisions about the next stage of this pandemic,” she says. I did.
The CDC panel emphasized that the recommendations would change if new evidence showed that more people needed boosters.
CDC advisers expressed concern to millions of Americans who received shots of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson early in the deployment of the vaccine. The government has not yet considered boosters for those brands and has no data on whether giving Pfizer shots to those people is safe or effective.
Dr. Sarah Long of Drexel University said:
About 26 million Americans received the last dose of Pfizer at least six months ago, about half of whom are 65 or older. It’s not clear how many more will meet the initial booster qualifications for the CDC panel.
Vaccines still provide strong protection for all age groups, but are slightly reduced among the oldest adults, according to CDC data. And immunity to mild infections appears to diminish months after people’s initial immunity.
Dr. Matthew Daily of Kaiser Permanente, Colorado, said that for most people, if they don’t belong to the recommended group for boosters, “that’s because we think you’re well protected.” increase. “It’s not about who deserves a booster, but who needs a booster.”
The CDC has concluded that there is little risk among those who are in a position to benefit from boosters. Serious side effects from the first two doses of Pfizer are extremely rare and include occasional heart inflammation in young men. No danger signal was found in Israeli data on a third dose of Pfizer to nearly 3 million people (mainly over 60 years of age).
Panelists also worked on how to know when boosters were needed. Extra doses increase the number of antibodies that fight the virus, but they naturally decline over time, how long the antibody boost from the third Pfizer dose lasts, or how much protection it actually adds. No one knows what to do. Immune system It also forms additional protection after vaccination.
The United States has already approved a third dose of the Pfizer and Modana vaccines for certain people with weakened immunity, such as cancer patients and transplant recipients. Other Americans could get boosters by simply asking, whether healthy or not.
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