FDA set to OK booster shots for people with compromised immune systems

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize booster shots for people with compromised immune systems, several media outlets reported.

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An announcement could come within 48 hours and possibly as soon as Thursday, The New York Times, CNN and NBC News reported.

The move would amend the emergency use authorizations for the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow a third dose, NBC News reported, citing two unnamed sources.

“The FDA is closely monitoring data as it becomes available from studies administering an additional dose of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to immunocompromised individuals,” an FDA spokesperson told CNN. “The agency, along with the CDC, is evaluating potential options on this issue, and will share information in the near future.”

The CDC advisory committee is scheduled to meet Friday, when it may vote on whether to officially recommend the booster shot, NBC News reported. The panel must make a recommendation before doctors can begin to prescribe extra doses, NBC News reported.

If the committee votes to endorse the shots, the CDC could issue a recommendation the same day, the Times reported.

The FDA must give authorization for the vaccines to be used in outside the current EUAs, according to CNN. That includes the three COVID-19 vaccines - the two shot Pfizer and Moderna, and the one-shot Johnson & Johnson dose. Full approval is pending for Pfizer’s vaccine.

Approximately 2.7% of adults in the United States have compromised immune systems, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the Times, studies suggest that organ transplant recipients are in an in-between situation. Studies showed that there is little immune response to standard vaccines, but patients benefited from a third shot, the newspaper reported.

A recent randomized, placebo-controlled study by Canadian researchers found that a third dose of the Moderna vaccine improved the immune response of those people, according to the newspaper.

Nearly half of the country’s population -- 165 million people -- has been fully vaccinated, The Wall Street Journal reported.