By: Sarah Yi — Editor-in-Chief
Just a few months after the release of Covid-19 vaccines, the Pfizer Booster Vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, in August 2021.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, the single booster dose is available to individuals 65 years of age or older, 18 years of age or older who live in long-term care settings, 18 years of age or older who have underlying medical conditions, and 18 years of age or older who work in high-risk settings who received their first series at least six months prior.
The CDC says that studies show that after getting vaccinated against Covid-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against the Delta variant. “Among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is decreasing over time,” the CDC said.
Some examples of workers who may get the Pfizer booster vaccine include first responders, education staff, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.
The CDC says only certain populations initially vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can get a booster shot at this time. “Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data become available,” said the CDC.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock says this pandemic is dynamic and evolving with new data about vaccine safety and effectiveness becoming available every day. “As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” said Woodcock.
The agency convened a public meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on September 17, 2021 to request input from independent scientific and public health experts on the data submitted in the application as a part of the FDA’s commitment to transparency.
“The antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 virus one month after a booster dose of the vaccine compared to the response one month after the two-dose primary series in the same individuals demonstrated a booster response,” said the FDA.
Current data indicated that third dose side effects are similar to second dose side effects, including localized pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, and fatigue, headache, and low-grade fever.
“The Covid-19 booster vaccine and the flu vaccine can be taken at the same time or close together,” said the CDC.
Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks says the FDA considered the committee’s input and conducted its own thorough review of the submitted data to reach today’s decision. “ We will continue to analyze data submitted to the FDA pertaining to the use of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines and we will make further decisions as appropriate based on the data,” said Marks.