FDA remains silent on Covid booster injections as key CDC panel concludes 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 an pop-up community vaccination center at the Gateway World Christian Center in Valley Stream, New York, United States on February 23, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration has still not announced whether it will allow Pfizer-BioNTech Covid booster injections for some Americans, even as a key vaccine advisory group from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes its first day of a two-day meeting on the subject.

Usually, the FDA announces its decision on certain vaccines or drugs before the CDC and its advisory committee on immunization practices meet and make their own recommendations. The CDC panel is supposed 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 meets again at noon.

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The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee on Friday overwhelmingly rejected a plan to distribute the additional injections to Americans 16 and older, before unanimously adopting an alternative plan to give reminders to older Americans and those at high risk for serious illness.

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

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

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

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

During Wednesday’s meeting, CDC advisers listened to several presentations on the data to support the wide distribution of booster injections, including a presentation from a Pfizer executive, who posted data showing that a third injection appears to be safe and increase antibody levels in recipients.

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