FDA vaccine advisory panel to debate if COVID vaccine booster shots will be necessary

Meeting set for Sept. 17

FDA's vaccine advisory panel preparing for Friday meeting on boosters

DETROIT – Health experts are split over whether COVID vaccine booster shots are needed and there will be a pivotal vote on Friday (Sept. 17).

The vote will happen at a highly anticipated meeting of the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee. On Tuesday, a member of that panel of outside experts spoke with Local 4 about the debate over boosters.

Dr. Oveta Fuller is an internationally renowned virologist from the University of Michigan. She is also a member of the elite group of 15 or so experts that have been called on to help guide the FDA through the process of authorizing three COVID-19 vaccines.

“I do believe we’re going to need another injection at some point. The question is how soon and hopefully the data are now available to help us understand how the immune system responds best to this,” Fuller said.

The panel of outside experts is meeting just three days before the White House plans to begin offering third doses for Americans who qualify. That plan hinges on getting the green light from the FDA and CDC.

The FDA is hosting an advisory committee meeting to discuss Pfizer’s application for COVID-19 booster shots. The vaccines and related biological products advisory committee will be holding the meeting on Sept. 17, three days before President Joe Biden’s administration plans to begin offering third shots for Americans.

If they determine booster shots are needed, the FDA could approve a third Pfizer dose and later do the same for boosters by Moderna and Johnson and Johnson.

The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer vaccine last month for those 16 and older for its two-dose regimen, but booster shots require separate authorization.

Boosters are currently available in the U.S. under emergency use authorization for those considered to be immunocompromised.

Read: Complete Michigan COVID coverage

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About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.