(WSYM) — On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to gather and discuss COVID-19 vaccine booster shots and whether or not they're necessary.
New data from Israel indicates an additional Pfizer shot provided 10 times more protection against COVID-19 and severe disease. The company is suggesting that you get a booster shot after six months.
The FDA will be focusing on two questions: is immunity waning, and will booster shots help restore it?
"What we know right now is that two doses of the messenger RNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) are pretty good when it comes to preventing severe illness or deaths," MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said. "So we remain watchful and waiting to see what the FDA advisory committee and the CDC says when it comes to if the general public needs a booster shot. But we are ready."
Khadlun said the health department has more than 4,000 providers across the state that can administer vaccines and have them on-site if and when the booster is widely approved.
"We know for a fact the vaccines are safe. They're highly effective. But the real question for the general public is, do we need that third shot?" Beaumont Internal Medicine Physician Dr. Justin Skrzsynski said.
That's exactly what some experts at the FDA are questioning. Skrzynski said immunocompromised people, especially those with chronic illnesses would definitely benefit. Others say older Americans would also benefit.
The FDA emphasized, "studies supporting the need for boosters are not conclusive and were not concluded in the U.S."
"The data seems to indicate that there's some decline in the immune response that they get from the vaccine after about the 6 to 8 month mark and we certainly at that point or even further along," Skryzinski said.
Approval is expected to be sought for a Moderna booster shot within a month.