DETROIT – On Monday, Pfizer met with federal health officials to explain why the pharmaceutical company believes booster shots might be needed.
The meeting comes after a high profile back and forth last week with the FDA and CDC pushing back against the idea of booster shots at least for now.
This week marks seven months since the first American outside of a trial got a COVID-19 vaccine.
Since then hundreds of millions of Americans have rolled up their sleeves too.
More than 56 percent of people who can get vaccinated, that’s 12 and up are fully vaccinated.
However, on Monday a senior health official said Pfizer will brief government officials about the potential need for a booster dose of its vaccine after Israel released data showing a marked decline in its effectiveness, from more than 90 percent down to about 64 percent as the Delta variant spreads.
Now, Israel will offer a third dose of Pfizer’s vaccine to people who are immunocompromised.
The United Kingdom announced last month it might offer booster shots too.
The CDC and FDA say Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.
“That doesn’t mean we stop there. There are studies ongoing as we speak about looking at the feasibility about if and when we should be boosting people,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Getting FDA approval and a formal CDC recommendation takes time.
“That’s a multi-month process so if we don’t get started right now, we’re not going to be in a position to have boosters available should we need it come the fall,” said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner while speaking on the CBS show Face the Nation.
Health officials say ultimately, the FDA and CDC will decide on the need for boosters, not Pfizer.
Experts stress this is not an all or nothing issue. It might be that certain groups such as immune compromised would benefit from a third dose.