Pfizer to brief health officials on need for booster shot

·2 min read

Pfizer is planning to brief U.S. health officials this week on whether a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is needed, a company spokesperson told Axios, following the company's announcement last week that it will seek government authorization for such a shot.

Why it matters: The upcoming meeting, first reported by The Washington Post, will come after the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publicly pushed back against the claim that the booster shot will be necessary.

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  • "Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time," the CDC and FDA wrote in a joint statement.

Catch up fast: Pfizer and BioNTech last week released the initial results of a study on coronavirus booster shots, finding that a third dose was five to 10 times more effective at neutralizing the virus than two doses.

  • Yes, but: Government officials like NIAID Director Anthony Fauci have reiterated that people who have gotten two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson do not need a booster shot.

  • Fauci told CNN that Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla apologized to him for not giving health officials advance notice that the company would seek the authorization.

Among those invited to the meeting were National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Chief Science Officer of the White House COVID-19 Response Team David Kessler, according to the Post.

Officials at the FDA, CDC and Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Of note: Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz announced Sunday that, effective immediately, the country would begin offering a third Pfizer shot to adults with impaired immune systems, Reuters reports.

  • However the country hasn't yet decided whether it will make the third dose available to the general population.

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