FDA, CDC Say That Third Booster Shot For COVID Vaccines Isn't Necessary
By Bill Galluccio
July 9, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration released a joint statement saying that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need a booster shot at this time.
The statement was released hours after Pfizer announced that it was working on a third booster shot that would be given within 6 to 12 months after the second injection. The pharmaceutical company said that it is seeing evidence of waning immunity as more variants develop around the world. Pfizer said it plans to file a request for an emergency use authorization in August.
"While protection against severe disease remained high across the full six months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected. Based on the totality of the data they have to date, Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial within 6 to 12 months following the second dose to maintain highest levels of protection," Pfizer said in a statement.
The U.S. health agencies did not rule out that a booster shot may be needed in the future but said that currently, it is not necessary.
"FDA, CDC, and NIH (the National Institutes of Health) are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary. This process takes into account laboratory data, clinical trial data, and cohort data -- which can include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but does not rely on those data exclusively," they said.
The agencies also stressed the importance of getting vaccinated.
"People who are not vaccinated remain at risk. Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated," the statement continued.
As of Thursday (July 8), 158.3 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated.