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In the face of global inequity, the US has maintained that it can both offer booster shots at home and distribute dosages overseas.
The US has approved booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those over 65, as well as adults at high risk of severe disease and those working in high-risk employment.
As a result of the news, a large portion of the US population — tens of millions of people – are now eligible for a third shot six months after their second.
After an independent expert group created by the regulatory agency last week voted in favor of recommending the change, the result was expected.
The committee of vaccinologists, infectious disease experts, and epidemiologists came to the conclusion that the benefit-risk balance for younger persons differed.
Pfizer COVID-19 boosters are presently being debated by a second panel of specialists organised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which may recommend additional recipient specifics.
If obesity is defined as putting a person “at high risk of severe COVID,” it would apply to more than 42 percent of the US population over the age of 20.
The CDC may also need to determine which workplaces and other environments are likely to result in “frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2.”
The FDA, for its part, stated that this would apply to “health care employees, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers, and people who work in homeless shelters or jails, among other people.”
Why is a booster shot required?
Several trials have found that two doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or a single shot of J&J, provide high protection against severe outcomes – however this is slightly lowered for the elderly.
The news comes amid a global discussion over whether it is ethical for rich countries to provide booster shots while most impoverished countries still lack broad access to immunizations, even for first doses.
The World Health Organization has recommended for a halt to the distribution of boosters in wealthier countries.
The United States has claimed that it is possible to support middle- and lower-income countries while simultaneously safeguarding its own vulnerable citizens.
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