2021-09-18 20:26:34 Health Experts Support Boosters for Americans Aged 60 and Older
Health Experts Support Boosters for Americans Aged 60 and Older
On Friday and Saturday, American health experts took to social media and other platforms to applaud the possibility that federal regulators will soon make Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots available to those 65 and older or at high risk of severe Covid-19, though some argued that the cutoff age should be lower.
The experts were reacting to the actions of a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Friday. The panel’s recommendation to authorize the boosters was accompanied by its rejection of moving toward a blanket authorization for everyone 16 and older.
Pfizer-Covid-19 BioNTech’s vaccine is the only one for which the FDA has enough data to determine the efficacy of a booster shot. The timing of the other two vaccines currently in use in the United States, Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s, is unclear.
However, Dr. Jha also stated in a separate tweet that boosters would benefit those aged 60 and up.
Dr. Eric Topol, a molecular medicine professor at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif., called the FDA panel’s decision “a very good outcome.” The decision, he wrote on Twitter, recognized “the need for high-risk individuals, such as the healthcare workforce, essential workers, and teachers, due to co-existing conditions or occupational exposures.”
Dr. Topol, on the other hand, questioned why the cutoff point for third-shot eligibility was set at 65, rather than 60 or older. He also claimed that the updated FDA warning “didn’t address the vulnerability of people who received J&J shots.”
Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told The Associated Press that he supported a third dose for older adults but that “I really have trouble” supporting giving the shot to anyone under the age of 16. “The question becomes what impact that will have on the arc of the pandemic, which may not be all that significant,” Dr. Offit said.
For some Americans who are not in the medical or scientific fields, the FDA panel’s recommendations appeared ambiguous, if not contradictory.
For example, Jen Macy, an Orange County, Calif., wedding and event floral designer, tweeted and also discussed with a Times reporter what she felt was an urgent question: “Can you explain why boosters are being recommended for high risk people but the general population must wait for further testing?” This is illogical.”
Michael Knowles, a conservative media figure with a large social media following and a large following on The Daily Wire, a site that publishes commentary and podcasts, poked fun at the F.D.A. panel’s actions. “The vaccines are so effective that you need a booster, but they are so safe that the FDA will not approve the booster,” he tweeted. “Did I get that right?”