FDA panel recommends Moderna booster shot for over-65s and at-risk adults

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An independent advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration has unanimously recommended that people over 65 years old, or at high risk of severe illness, may receive a booster dose of the ModernaCovid-19 vaccine.

A similar recommendation was made in September for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and booster shots for that are now being administered.

The FDA will now consider the recommendation. Officials are expected to reach a decision within days as to whether to roll out a Moderna booster program for those who were vaccinated at least six months ago. While the FDA is not obligated to follow the recommendation, it usually does.

Almost 70 million Americans have received both doses of the Moderna vaccine. The booster shot would be a half dose of the vaccine.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee was asked to vote on whether available data supports giving a 50 microgram booster dose to three high-risk groups — those over 65 years of age; people aged 18 to 64 at high risk of severe Covid-19; and adults whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to Covid, such as medical staff, puts them at high risk of contracting the virus and developing serious complications.

An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which gives recommendations as to how vaccines should be deployed is scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

Johnson & Johnson has asked the FDA to consider a booster for recipients of their vaccine, and the same panel will vote about that on Friday.

They will also discuss whether recipients of the one-shot J&J vaccine be better off receiving a dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, but no vote on that will be held yet.

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