FDA Approves Second Pfizer, Moderna COVID Booster for People 50 and Older

by Megan Molseed

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the announcement regarding the approval of a second COVID-19 booster. This dose is intended for patients 50 years and older. This approval, experts say, is part of an effort to stave off another potential spike of infections related to the omicron COVID-19 subvariant. The approval allows for emergency uses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for this purpose.

At A Glance

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the way for adults 50 years and up to receive a second COVID-19 booster.
  • The approval is part of an effort to try and curb any potential spike in COVID-19 infections. Infections which may be related to the omicron subvariant.
  • The FDA approved the use of the second booster for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • The booster will be administered four months after the previous vaccine dose.

FDA Approves Second Booster in Effort to Hold-Off a Spike in Omicron Variant Infections

On Tuesday, March 29, the FDA approved a second coronavirus booster dose for patients ages 50 years and older. This emergency approval is a move made in an effort to stave off any potential spikes in infections that are related to the most recent COVID-19 omicron subvariant.

Providers now have the go-ahead to administer this second booster dose – as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signs off on the approval. This approval includes both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Peter Marks says a second dose of the COVID-19 booster is another line of protection. This dose, Marks says, “could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals.”

The FDA Has Already Approved the Fourth COVID-19 Booster For Patients 12 Years and Older With Weakened Immune Systems

Previously, a fourth booster has been cleared by the FDA for patients with weakened immune systems who are 12 years old and above. Since then, the FDA has further approved a fifth COVID-19 boost for those with particularly fragile immune systems within this age group.

This latest approval, however, takes these guidelines a bit further. Allowing patients 50 years old and above to receive the second booster dose, regardless of health. This second booster would be the fourth for patients with a full round of COVID-19 vaccines.

Data has shown that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were nearly 80% effective in patients, according to CNBC. Primarily during the first wave of the omicron infection. Additionally, those who also had the booster saw a protection rate of around 94%. The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines is the lowest in those with compromised immune systems. This group of patients saw a protection rate of about 74% after receiving the initial two doses, according to AP.