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FDA panel backs half-dose booster of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for older and at-risk adults

WashingtonExaminer
WashingtonExaminer
 2021-10-14

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The Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel endorsed a half-dose booster shot for Moderna vaccine recipients who are 65 and older, adults considered to be at high risk of severe COVID-19 infections, or those working or living in situations that put them at greater risk of contracting the virus.

The panel's vote was unanimous, according to the Associated Press . Members were presented with relatively small data sample sizes but said they needed a strong justification to turn down booster approval for Moderna given the already approved measures for Pfizer's booster shot.

Moderna's FDA application requested approval for a booster for recipients 18 and older and proposed to offer the additional dose at 50 micrograms instead of 100 micrograms, which was the consistency of each jab in the initial two-shot vaccine.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee's decision is nonbinding but marks a crucial step toward authorizing the third shot for the vaccine manufacturer.

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Until Thursday, the panel had only voted on boosters, authorized by the FDA less than a month ago, for patients who received the Pfizer vaccine.

The panel is slated to discuss boosters for Johnson & Johnson recipients on Friday, as the company has requested the FDA to approve a second jab for the single-shot vaccine option.

Last month, the White House defended its decision to recommend booster shots to specific categories of U.S. residents who have already been vaccinated. "We always lead with the science," said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

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The FDA's next goal line is to approve vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds.

President Joe Biden said Thursday the agency is ready to make its determination for the young age group within the next two weeks.

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