As the debate over COVID vaccine boosters continues, we could learn this week who is eligible to get the third shot.
On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, appeared on Meet The Press and Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, appeared on Face the Nation. Both healthcare experts discussed the booster rollout plan and what happens next.
“We look at it as one phase of the rollout,” Fauci said.
On Friday, the FDA advisory panel recommended granting emergency use authorization for a Pfizer vaccine booster shot for specific groups of Americans.
“I do think it was very significant that the FDA advisory committee voted unanimously in favor of offering boosters to people 65 and over and others who have high risk exposures, like healthcare professionals,” Collins said.
The panel rejected the plan to offer boosters to younger people. Members of the panel said Pfizer had not provided sufficient data yet on the safety of a third dose for all age groups.
“They weren’t convinced yet that the data required this for younger individuals who aren’t at higher risk, but I think some of the data coming in, especially from Israel, tells me that it’s likely that they will get to that point, but this is a start,” Collins said.
Fauci said the recommendation still needs FDA approval.
“The FDA will come out with their decision and then immediately after that you will see the advisory committee on immunizations practices advising the CDC,” Fauci said.
The CDC advisory committee is set to meet on Wednesday to debate who should get the booster and how long they should get the the third shot after their second dose.
Both Collins and Fauci said if the FDA and CDC approve, boosters could be available later this week. But Fauci said this is only for the Pfizer vaccine. He adds healthcare leaders could know more about a third dose of Moderna and a second dose of Johnson & Johnson in a few weeks.
“We’re working on that right now to get that data to the FDA so they can examine it and make a determination about the boosters for those people,” Fauci said.