The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccine booster shots for Americans aged 18 and older.
On Thursday, the agency granted emergency use authorization for a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to boost immune response in individuals who received the first two, the effectiveness of which have been shown to wane over time. The delta variant of the virus, a highly transmissible strain, partly prompted the rollout of the booster as it reduces the efficacy of the original vaccine in some individuals.
“The FDA has determined that the currently available data support expanding the eligibility of a single booster dose of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to individuals 18 years of age and older,” Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said. “Streamlining the eligibility criteria and making booster doses available to all individuals 18 years of age and older will also help to eliminate confusion about who may receive a booster dose and ensure booster doses are available to all who may need one.”
Qualified people are eligible to receive the booster six months after their second shot of either the Pfizer or Modern vaccine was administered, the FDA confirmed. For those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the booster is available to them two months after the single dose.
This development comes after the FDA already authorized the COVID vaccine for children aged five to eleven, making some 28 million children eligible to receive the third shot. Before that, the agency approved the boost shot for the elderly, Americans aged 65 and older as well as the immunocompromised.