As the highly contagious Delta variant rips through the country, the FDA plans on authorizing a 3rd booster shot of the Covid vaccine for people who have immune systems that have been weakened.
Expanding the emergency use of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines should help protect those who are most vulnerable to Covid and most likely to reap the benefits of another shot.
FDA Considers Authorizing Third Booster Shot For Vulnerable Citizens
This list includes people who have undergone organ transplant surgeries, and those with immunocompromised systems but again several doctors feel that the immunocompromised population is far too diverse to be recommended an additional shot uniformly.
Once the booster shot is approved, doctors would recommend them. Due to numerous reasons, almost 3% of Americans have weakened immune systems. One such factor is due to a history of cancer or the usage of certain medications such as steroids.
Studies have pointed to the fact that patients who have received organ transplants often show a very limited response to a standard vaccine dosing schedule. This means that they could possibly be beneficiaries of a third shot.
A study conducted recently in Canada revealed that a third dose of the Moderna vaccine vastly improved the immune response of people who were in that group.
Dr. Dorry Segev, from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, has said that almost half of transplant patients have 0 antibody response to the vaccine dosage that has been authorized currently.
Segev’s team studied 30 patients who have had transplants who were also vaccinated but had negative or low positive antibody blood titers. The immune system of these patients had responded poorly to the shots.
14 of them had more antibodies in their titers after an additional dose.
The decision of the FDA to authorize a 3rd shot will be considered by the CDC on Friday. An advisory committee has been appointed, though the FDA’s action will be independent of the committee’s recommendation.
The CDC could give out a formal recommendation if it chooses to endorse the booster shots for vulnerable citizens.
It is not clear how those having immune deficiencies who received the J&J vaccine were to proceed as a majority of Americans received the Pfizer or Moderna doses.
Since health officials want to look at J&J’s trial data on the safety and efficacy of the two doses first, the FDA has decided not to expand the usage for emergencies.
The results of its 2 dose study are expected to be released by the end of this month.
Dr. Dan Barouch, a virologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said that the FDA’s move to make third shots available to those with vulnerable immune systems made sense.
He also said that there was a long and successful history of matching and mixing different vaccines and that this could also work for Covid vaccines.
In order to determine whether protection against the virus is enhanced by such an approach, data is required. Barouch acknowledged that unfortunately, such data is not available yet.
Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health have a study going on that is expected to provide insights by early fall.
Around 175 scientists, activists and experts called upon the President asking him to do more to contain the spread of the contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. The experts urged the President to act now in a joint letter to Senior White House officials.
President Biden was sent a letter separately which stated the issue of the rising number of Covid cases in Asia and Africa stressing the fact that the Delta variant is highly contagious.