FDA remains silent on Covid booster injections as CDC key panel wraps up day one of two-day meeting

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A syringe is filled with a dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a pop-up community vaccination center at the Gateway World Christian Center in Valley Stream in New York City, the United States on February 23 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration has yet to announce whether it would allow Pfizer-BioNTech COVID booster injections for some Americans, even a major Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory group on the subject. But that concludes the first day of the two-day meeting.

Typically, the FDA announces its decision on certain vaccines or drugs before the CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices turn to develop and publish its recommendations. The CDC panel is due to vote on the booster injections on Thursday, but officials said they would postpone that meeting if the FDA’s decision was not announced by the time the committee reconvenes in the afternoon.

The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics on Friday rejected plans to distribute additional vaccines to Americans 16 and older, before unanimously recommending it to older Americans and those who are at higher risk of developing serious illness. An alternative scheme for giving reminders has been adopted.

This was seen as a controversial recommendation, as the Biden administration said it wanted to start offering booster shots to the general public earlier this week, pending clearance from U.S. health regulators.

It is now up to FDA regulators to decide whether to accept the recommendation of that agency’s advisory board – which it often does – or perhaps move away from the advice given to increase the number of people eligible to receive drugs. additional injections.

An FDA spokesperson declined to provide details on the timing of the agency’s decision.

The FDA still has time. The CDC advisory group is not expected to vote on who should receive the Pfizer recall until Thursday afternoon, and federal health officials said earlier Wednesday that the vote could be postponed a second time if the FDA did not made up his mind by then. could.

During Wednesday’s meeting, CDC advisers heard several presentations on the data aimed at supporting a wider distribution of booster injections, including a presentation from a Pfizer executive who posted data showing that a third injection seemed safe. and increases antibody levels in recipients.

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