MPA | Pharmacy News

A key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend a booster shot of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine for many of the vaccine’s recipients, at least six months after a second dose.

The panel endorsed a half-dose as a third injection for people 65 and older as well as younger adults at high risk because of their medical conditions or jobs, the same groups of people who became eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech booster last month. While regulators are not obligated to follow the panel’s recommendations, they typically do.

Although committee members decried the lack of more robust data justifying a booster, several emphasized that F.D.A. had already set a precedent by authorizing additional shots on an emergency basis for many recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“From a pragmatic point of view,” said Dr. Stanley Perlman of the University of Iowa, “because we’ve already approved it for Pfizer, I don’t see how we can possibly not approve it for Moderna.”

Although the vote was unanimous, a number of panel members expressed serious doubts on a follow-up question: whether to expand groups of people eligible for boosters to include younger adults who are not at high risk because of their medical conditions, jobs or other factors. They cited limited data and concerns about the underlying rationale for including younger age groups.

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