A new presentation from the CDC says the data needed to properly assess booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine for the general population is limited – even when US President Joe Biden called health officials on September 20. Weeks lobbied to clean up the injections for wide distribution.
Slides released ahead of a presentation for a Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Group meeting on Monday suggest the panel may limit its initial support to additional injections to vulnerable groups and health workers.
A nurse gives 15-year-old Sherry Trimble a shot of the vaccine at the vaccination clinic at Health First Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida.
Paul Hennessy | SOPA Pictures | LightRocket | Getty Images
According to slides presented by CDC scientist Dr. Sarah Oliver, several studies suggest that licensed COVID vaccines are effective in preventing serious illness and hospitalizations, but may be less effective in preventing infections or mild symptomatic illnesses. The CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices is meeting Monday to consider booster shots for all eligible Americans. They are also expected to vote in favor of final approval of Pfizer’s vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration.
Since the appearance of the highly infectious delta variant, the efficacy of the vaccine has been between 39% and 84% at the time of its presentation, in reference to several different studies. A study of health workers and first responders showed that the vaccine’s overall effectiveness fell to around 65% in July – down from around 90% in February, according to the slides. Data from Israel shows that the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine has fallen by 39% in that country.
Scientists have said that the effectiveness of vaccines decreases over time, and the delta version is a more resistant strain capable of breaking that protection.
“It is important to monitor trends in efficacy based on disease severity over time,” the slides say.
The slides indicate that it is not unusual for vaccines to require multiple doses. For example, vaccination against hepatitis B and HPV requires a third dose after six months.
Once booster injections are available, nursing home residents, health care providers and the elderly – the first groups to be vaccinated in December and January – may be prioritized for additional injections, the slide suggested. of the CDC.
The CDC stressed that while vaccinating unvaccinated people should be a “top priority,” giving booster doses to vaccinated people should not reach people who remain vulnerable to the virus.
The agency also stressed the importance of the availability of vaccines around the world.
“Uncontrolled spread around the world leading to new variants threatening epidemic control everywhere,” he said in a slide.
In a meeting on Monday, President Joe Biden said on Friday that U.S. regulators were considering giving COVID booster shots to people five months after completing their primary vaccinations, extending the scheduled schedule for a third injection to three months. . .
Scientists have sharply criticized the pressure from the Biden administration to distribute the booster shots widely, saying the data provided by federal health officials is simply not convincing enough to recommend a third injection for most of the population. American. .
The Biden administration has publicly stated that the third dose would not take place without FDA approval and the ACIP vote.