ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Tens of millions more Americans could soon be eligible for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.
The FDA is expected to authorize the additional dose for all adults in the coming days.
Moderna requested similar approval Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 17.
Right now, anyone who received Johnson & Johnson’s single dose vaccine is eligible for a second shot.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna booster doses are currently recommended for a more limited group of adults: those who are 65 and older, those who have underlying health conditions, and those who work or live in a high-risk setting.
Last week, Pfizer asked the FDA to amend its emergency use authorization to extend eligibility for its booster dose to all adults.
“Please keep in mind that if you’ve already been vaccinated, this doesn’t mean that your vaccination isn’t working,” said Dr. Erin Carlson, Director of Graduate Public Health Programs at UT Arlington. “This is an additional measure of protection to keep you safe, in case you do become exposed and develop a breakthrough case.”
If both the FDA and CDC give their approval by Friday, Nov. 19, anyone 18 and up could get their booster shot as early as this weekend as long as their second dose was six months ago.
“Which means millions more Americans would go into the holidays and indoor gatherings with large groups of people at their maximum level of defense against COVID-19,” Dr. Carlson said.
She says the timing is ideal, especially as cases increase in other countries.
“What happens globally in infectious disease happens locally,” said Dr. Carlson. “So the fact that there is a significant rise in cases right now in Western Europe means that the U.S. is not far behind.”
Dr. Carlson believes if those who are already vaccinated boost their immunity, and those who still haven’t gotten the shot decide to, it could help us get through what might be another challenging pandemic winter.
It appears the FDA will sign off on the third dose for all adults either Thursday or Friday morning, ahead of the a CDC advisory committee meeting on the same topic Friday afternoon.