- NIH Director Dr Francis Collins says he is confident that COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be made available to Americans in the coming months.
- Last week, an FDA advisory board recommended a third dose only for people 65 years of age or older or with conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.
- The vote of the advisory board is not binding, although it is rare that the FDA will disagree with them.
- The decision to roll out the booster has been opposed by several health officials, including 18 members of the FDA who protested last week.
Dr Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says he is confident that COVID-19 vaccine booster shots will be approved for all Americans, despite a setback last week.
On Friday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted 16-2 against a recommendation to authorize booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the entire US population.
The panel later voted to recommend the shots for people 65 years of age or older or those at high risk of serious illness from COVID.
While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not bound by an advisory board recommendation, the vote carries a lot of weight and the FDA rarely goes against it.
Despite this, Collins pointed out Fox News Sunday That they still believed boosters would be approved for young people in the future.
Dr Francis Collins (pictured) is still confident that COVID-19 vaccine boosters will be available to all Americans, despite an FDA advisory board voting against recommending shots for authorization last week.
The FDA advisory board recommended that vaccine boosters be made available for Americans over the age of 65 or with conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus.
“I think the great news is that they have approved the introduction of the booster,” Collins said.
‘Remember, they’re just taking a snapshot of now, we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks. It would surprise me if it doesn’t become clear over the next few weeks that the administration of the booster may need to be increased.
‘Based on the data that we have already seen in both the US and Israel, it is clear that the decrease in the effectiveness of those vaccines is a reality and we have to respond.’
The White House last month announced plans to roll out COVID vaccine booster shots to all Americans.
The initial plan was for the shots to become available this Monday, September 20, pending approval from regulators.
Instead, regulators pushed back the target date, with health officials saying they needed more time to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the shots.
Since that time, many people have been opposing the booster, including 18 senior FDA officials, who believe the shots are not needed because the two-shot vaccine regimen is still effective in preventing hospitalization and death. .
Officials wrote in a statement, “While the idea of further reducing the number of COVID-19 cases by boosting immunity among vaccinated people is tempting, any decision to do so must be evidence-based and should be relevant to individuals and society.” to consider the benefits and risks.” report good.
‘Covid-19 vaccines remain effective against serious disease, including the delta variant.
‘Most of the observational studies on which this conclusion is based, however, are difficult to make preliminary and accurate interpretation due to potentially confounding and selective reporting.’
Two of those officials, Dr Marion Gruber and Dr Phil Krauss, even plan to step down in the coming months due to disagreements over the White House’s vaccine roll out, according to the report.
The advisory committee vote is a major blow to the White House’s plan, as it now appears that the booster will not receive full emergency use authorization for all adults, like the first two shots of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did.
Collins believes otherwise and stands firm in his belief that Americans will need shots to stay safe from the virus.
He told Fox News Sunday that he didn’t believe the authority recommended by the panel was so different from the president’s overall plans.
Since boosters will be available eight months after receiving a second shot of the vaccine, only Americans who received their shots in February or earlier would be eligible at this time.
The scaled nature of the vaccine rollout makes older people and vulnerable people first in line for boosters.
Still, people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine — or people who got the shot early because they were frontline workers, teachers, corrections workers, or other groups — were given priority if the advisory committee recommended. If the recommendation is followed, they will not be eligible.
It’s a change of opinion for Collins, who said weeks before the White House unveiled booster shot plans he believed they were not needed.
At the time he said that only high-risk individuals should get a third shot – although he was ready to change his opinion as the science changed.
“If we change this based on concerns of decreased immunity over time, we’re ready to start offering boosters, especially to high-risk individuals,” he told CNN in early August.
‘But right now, looking at that data, we’re not there, so people should be pretty confident.’