Pfizer, BioNTech to Pursue Second Booster Shot Authorization for Older Adults

COVID-19 mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech are requesting authorization of
a second booster shot, or fourth dose, for adults aged 65 and older. They claim that it will be
necessary to improve the potential waning protection in the face of variants, putting seniors and
immunocompromised populations at an increased risk of COVID-19 infection over time. It is
likely that the FDA will assess data from Israel, where a fourth shot has been approved for
seniors and healthcare workers. They found that while a fourth dose boosts antibody levels it was
not necessarily as effective against infections with the omicron variant.
At this time, it is unclear whether the approval of a second booster will be effective as
uptake of the first booster dose is lagging in United States nursing homes among residents and
staff. The most recent data showed that 74% of residents and 43% of staff members have
received a booster shot, which is below the 87% of initial vaccinations rates for both residents
and staff.
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