FDA Could Authorize Moderna Booster Shots for All Adults This Week

Carolyn Crist

November 18, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The FDA could authorize booster shots of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for all adults as early as this week.

Moderna announced Wednesday that it requested authorization from the FDA. Federal regulators are considering a similar request from Pfizer this week.

If the FDA and CDC sign off on both shots, all adults who received their second doses at least 6 months ago would be eligible for a booster. If both shots are authorized, people could also choose which vaccine they’d like to receive as a booster, The New York Times reported.

Right now, additional shots of the Pfizer vaccine are only approved for those who are 65 and older, face high risks due to underlying health conditions or live and work in high-risk environments.

Even if federal regulators don’t decide on Moderna’s request this week, the FDA and CDC are expected to allow all adults to get an extra shot of the Pfizer booster, the newspaper reported.

The Biden administration has pushed for broad access to boosters since September. On Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, advocated for boosters to protect against illness, not just hospitalization and death.

"I don’t know of any other vaccine that we only worry about keeping people out of the hospitals," he said during a White House briefing.

"I think an important thing is to prevent people from getting symptomatic disease," he said, including long-term consequences.

So far, more than 31 million Americans have received a booster shot, according to the latest CDC data. About 37% of fully vaccinated adults who are ages 65 and older have gotten an extra shot.

A growing number of states and cities have decided to offer booster shots to all adults ahead of the federal decision, according to the Times.. As of Wednesday, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine and Vermont were the latest states to join the list. Within the past week, Arkansas, California, Colorado, New York City and New Mexico have encouraged all adults to seek an extra shot as COVID-19 cases begin to rise again.

Sources:

The New York Times: "The FDA could authorize Moderna boosters for all adults as early as this week."

C-SPAN: "White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing, Nov. 17, 2021."

CDC: "COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States."

WebMD: "FDA to Authorize Pfizer Booster Shots for All Adults This Week."

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