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Second Booster Sought

Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking an emergency use authorization for a second booster shot for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people who are 65 or older or immunocompromised, the Washington Post reports.

Currently, anyone over the age of 12 who previously received the two initial doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is eligible to receive a booster five months later. This new request for a second booster comes as there is increasing data suggesting that the protection provided by the vaccine may wane and that future SARS-CoV-2 variants may skirt that protection, the Post notes.

"Many variants are coming and Omicron was the first one that was able to evade in a skillful way the immune protection that we're giving," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on CBS News' Face the Nation earlier this week. He adds that while the current single booster provides protection against hospitalizations and deaths, it isn't as good at protecting against infection.

In their application, Pfizer and BioNTech cited data from an Israeli study that found rates of infection and severe illness were lower among people 60 years old and older who received a second booster, according to the Post. A study of healthcare workers given a fourth vaccine dose, meanwhile, showed that it boosted antibody levels, but did not prevent asymptomatic or less severe infections, it adds.

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