With federal regulators considering a motion to expand Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine booster eligibility to all adults, three states decided last week to expand access on their own.
Colorado, New Mexico, and California allow adults to obtain booster vaccinations provided individuals are at least six months after the second dose of Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or two months after the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine.
“I was very frustrated with the confused news from the CDC and the FDA,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Sunday on the CBS show “Face the Nation,” also referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention such as the Food and Drug Administration.
Federal regulators have stated that adults who have received the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are entitled to a booster when they are 65 or older, or if they have an elevated due to illness or where they live or work Are exposed to risk. Individuals who have received the Johnson & Johnson Intake, available only to adults, are eligible. Those who receive boosters can choose one of three brands of vaccine.
On Tuesday, Pfizer and BioNTech asked the FDA to extend approval for their boosters to all adults. If regulators sign that request, it would make official what health officials say health officials already see a lot – that many people seem to be getting boosters, whether or not they are technically authorized. In mid-August, President Biden announced plans to make boosters available to all adults, but the start of the campaign was delayed after regulators insisted they needed more time to review the data.
Mr Polis signed an executive order on boosters this week citing the significant spread of the virus in Colorado. According to a New York Times database, the state’s average daily hospital admissions had risen 13 percent to about 1,500 in the past two weeks.
As winter wears off, Mr Polis said he wanted to protect both residents and ski tourists.
“Everyone should get the booster after six months,” he said, emphasizing his ability to help with personal protection. “That’s why my parents got it,” he added as he did.
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A growing body of early global research has shown that the vaccines available in the United States offer high levels of protection against the worst effects of the disease over time.
Several published studies show that their protection against infection, with or without symptoms, has decreased. Public health experts say that doesn’t mean the vaccines won’t work. But the significance of the diminishing effectiveness – and whether it suggests that all adults should be eligible for a refresher – is still open to debate.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former head of the FDA who now sits on Pfizer’s board of directors, was blunt in his criticism of Face the Nation in his criticism of the Biden administration’s approach to booster recommendations. “I think the confusing message surrounding the boosters could end up being one of the biggest missed opportunities in this pandemic,” he said.
“Anyone eligible for a booster, and most Americans probably eligible at this point, should go out and find it,” he added.
And on Fox News Sunday, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US surgeon general, tread a line between recognizing the steps taken by these three states and defending the slower approaches of federal regulators.
“They will take a close look at the data,” he said of the FDA to make sure the booster is safe and effective for people who are not currently eligible.
He continued, “The bottom line is that millions of people can now be refreshed and we would like them to be topped up because it will both expand and improve the protection they are already receiving from the vaccine.”
Giulia Heyward contributed to the reporting.