FDA Advisers Could Come To a Decision on Additional COVID Boosters in April

by Samantha Whidden

The FDA reportedly announced on Monday (March 21st) that advisers may come to a decision on additional COVID boosters in early April. According to Reuters, the U.S. drug regulator’s advisers will meet on April 6th to discuss a second booster for the virus. This news comes just after Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, along with Moderna sought emergency authorization from the FDA for the fourth dose of their vaccines. A dose that Pfizer CEO declares to be necessary.

What to Know:

  • The FDA announced that a panel of independent advisers will meet in early April to discuss the use of COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
  • Last week, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE, along with Modern sought emergency use authorization from the FDA for second COVID-19 boosters. 
  • The Pfizer CEO recently declared that the fourth dose of the COVID booster is necessary. However, Modern president Stephen Hoge also states that healthy, young people do not need the booster. 

Although there will be a meeting to discuss the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA said no voting will occur. There will also not be any discussion of any of the COVID vaccine makers’ applications for additional boosters. The FDA advisory committee will however focus particularly on favors that need to be considered when updating the strains that make up the vaccines. The timing and populations for the booster doses will also be discussed. 

Peter Marks, the Director of FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, spoke about the upcoming meeting. “Now is the time to discuss the need for future boosters as we aim to move forward safely. With COVID-19 becoming a virus like others such as influenza. That we prepare for, protect against, and treat.”

Following Pfizer CEO’s Claim that a Fourth Dose of the COVID Vaccine is Necessary, Moderna’s President Has a Different Take

Days after Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla proclaimed that a fourth COVID booster shot is necessary for Americans to get, Moderna President Stephen Hoge disagrees that the fourth dose of vaccine is necessary for everyone. 

During an interview with Insider, Hoge declared, “For those who are immune-compromised, those who are older adults, over the age of 50 or at least 65. We want to strongly recommend and encourage [a fourth shot]. The same way we do with flu vaccines.”

Hoge then explained that people who will benefit the most from the fourth COVID vaccine dose will be cancer patients. “COVID can actually be a life-threatening disease, even post-vaccination. So people who suffer from the disease shouldn’t mess around with that.”

When asked if he believes the fourth dose is in fact necessary, Hoge admitted, “Is it necessary? I think that’s a strong word and I think it will provide a benefit to everyone who gets it. I personally will get a booster every year. Because I don’t want to ever lose my sense of smell. Long COVID sounds nasty.”