FDA reportedly close to authorizing Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for all adults

The administration is also reportedly planning on purchasing millions of doses of the company’s antiviral pill.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to authorize booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 to be administered to anyone 18 years or older.

According to a report from The New York Times, the move could come as soon as Thursday as the nation gears up for the holiday travel season. The authorization would enable and adult who received a second dose of the vaccine at least six months before to receive a third dose boosting their immunity to the deadly disease.

Currently, the additional shots are only authorized for certain groups. The current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for the booster are:

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

The company has been having success in developing tools to battle the COVID-19 pandemic as the CDC recommended children 5 to 11 years receive the pediatric doses of the vaccine. At least two months after the two-dose regimen, the vaccine proved to produce more neutralizing titers against the original strain of COVID-19 and the Delta variant than the larger doses did in teenagers. The juvenile vaccine was shown to be 90.7 percent effective against COVID-19 at least seven days after the second dose.

Antiviral pill

The Times also reports that the federal government is planning to pay more than $5 billion for a stockpile of an antiviral COVID-19 pill being developed by Pfizer. The stockpile would contain enough doses for about 10 million patients and is set to be delivered in the next 10 months.

Pfizer is seeking an EUA from the FDA for the antiviral COVID-19 pill. The pill, PAXLOVID, was shown to be 89 percent effective in an interim analysis of Phase 2/3 EPIC-HR study of non-hospitalized adult patients with COVID-19 who are at-risk of progressing to severe illness. Only three patients who received the antiviral pill were hospitalized due to COVID-19 and none died of the disease, compared to 27 patients on the placebo who were hospitalized and seven who died.

The company sees PAXLOVID as being prescribed broadly as an at-home treatment to reduce severity, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19. It could also be used to reduce the probability of infection after exposure among adults.