The CDC meets to discuss booster shots for the Johnson and Johnson and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines starting Wednesday.
The booster for Pfizer has already been approved, and this is the next step in the process for these two companies.
Doctor Christopher Doehring, vice president of Medical Affairs with Franciscan Health says booster shots are recommended for many vaccines, particularly for those against viruses because they change over time.
The initial protection from the vaccine could decline and need a boost.
“The booster, as well as primary vaccination, are both incredibly important if we’re going to turn this virus from something that is, you know, killing literally hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, to basically what it should be, which is a nuisance respiratory virus… if we were to have significantly higher rates of vaccination and widespread protection.”
We have seen some breakthrough cases of COVID where fully vaccinated people are getting infected, and boosters could be the key to fighting those, as well as different variants that may come up and could be more contagious.
“Ultimately the goal of the vaccines is to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. But hopefully, with these boosters we can also curtail the spread of even mild disease, at least in those initial weeks and months after the boosters have been received,” said Dr. Doehring.
When it comes to mixing vaccine brands, Dr. Doehring says there is little data on the subject, but what we do have looks promising.
“I think the cross boosting is an interesting topic and we’ll see certainly if we get that support. That will make it a lot easier for people to get boosted, they won’t necessarily have to worry about where I do find a place that has the same one I got the first time through, so that would be a good thing.”
The committee that meets Wednesday would also be recommending who would be eligible for booster shots.
Right now, the Pfizer vaccine booster is approved for those 65 and older, with certain underlying conditions and those who work with the vulnerable population.
It could happen as soon as the end of the week if all goes as predicted as it did for Pfizer. It’s a multi-agency approval process. The FDA looks at the pharmaceutical aspect and the CDC looks from a public health standpoint.