Pfizer to meet with health officials about booster shot

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The planned meeting with Pfizer officials and the nation's top medical experts Monday will begin the process of getting approval for a booster shot, which federal officials say isn't needed right now for the fully vaccinated.

CDC and FDA officials said that all vaccines approved for emergency use are still providing a very high degree of protection.

"Given the data that the CDC and the FDA has, they don't feel that we need to tell people right now that you need to be boosted," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Disease.

Fauci said he doesn't want the public to be confused as Pfizer meets with government health officials about seeking approval for a booster shot of the vaccine.

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Pfizer executives have requested authorization to begin rolling out a COVID-19 booster shot, whcih they say should be given within one year of the second dose.

Medical experts at Penn Medicine, where the technology was developed to create the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, said the shots are still working effectively.

"Right now things seem to be holding pretty steady in terms of protection," said Dr. John Wherry, director of the Institute for Immunology at Penn Medicine

Wherry said Pfizer is planning ahead in case protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death begin to waver.

"It looks like right now that the immunity from the first two-dose schedule for Pfizer and Moderna is going to last longer than just a year," Wherry said.

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The 7-day averages for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up. The CDC says the COVID-19 delta variant is spreading throughout the United States and is more transmissible.

Pfizer wants to get the approval process started on a booster shot and will brief officials about recent studies the company said shows another shot within 12 months of being fully vaccinated could dramatically boost immunity.

Experts stress that current vaccines are still working against the delta variant, which is spreading quickly.

Federal health officials said the rapid rise of the delta variant is troubling as more unvaccinated people fall sick with COVID-19.

A few weeks ago, the delta variant accounted for just over a quarter of new U.S. cases, but it now makes up more than 50% and in some places, such as parts of the Midwest, as much as 80% of positive cases.

This is something to watch as families take summer vacations enjoying life as it was before the pandemic.

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Pfizer is about to seek U.S. authorization for a third dose of its COVID-19 vaccine.

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