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Booster Decision Expected

The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine this week for people over the age or 65 or who at high risk of becoming ill, the New York Times reports.

Pfizer and BioNTech had been seeking authorization for a booster dose of its vaccine for those over the age of 16 six months after they received their first vaccine doses from the companies. A third dose has already been authorized for people who are immunocompromised.

But as NPR reports, an FDA advisory committee instead has endorsed a booster for people 65 years old or older and those at high risk of becoming ill, such as healthcare workers. According to NPR, Paul Offit from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said the panel was asked to consider this broader application "without any clear evidence that a third dose for a younger person when compared to an elderly person is of value."

Previously, the Biden Administration announced that SARS-CoV-2 vaccine boosters would be available to US adults this month. However, a number of experts said the booster push for all was premature, and was condemned by the World Health Organization, which said a greater focus should be on providing initial vaccinations to the rest of the world.

The Times separately reports that the CDC released data Friday indicating that the protection provided by the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine against hospitalization with COVID-19 falls to 77 percent after four months. Meanwhile, the Moderna vaccine protection remains high, with 92 percent effectiveness after four months.