Do we need a COVID-19 booster shot? Dr Kavita Patel weighs in

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Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) is seeking authorisation from the U.S. FDA for COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all adults to fortify waning immunity in Americans ahead of the holiday season as many of them received their 2nd dose about six months ago.  

Pfizer’s recent study tested booster shots in 10,000 participants aged 53 years on average to conclude that the third dose made people about 95% more protected against the deadly virus compared to the fully vaccinated population that did not receive a booster.


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Shares of Pfizer are up about 4.0% on Wednesday.

Dr Patel’s remarks on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’

According to Dr Kavita Patel, unlike before, the regulator now has sufficient data to recommend booster shots for all Americans. On CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, she said:

Pfizer’s data on top of the evidence that breakthrough infections can lead to hospitalisation, not just in high-risk adults but also in people under the age of 50, should put this debate to rest. I think everyone does need a booster shot six months after the 2nd dose. It’s a no-brainer for me at this point.

The former White House policy director is also convinced that the U.S. FDA will eventually authorise boosters for Moderna recipients as well. Last week, Pfizer secured CDC approval for its vaccine in children.

The question of ethics

Dr Patel agreed the question of ethics was still at play – “should Americans get a 3rd shot when many in developing nations haven’t even received their first”, but said:

Pfizer and the Biden administration have reiterated they have sufficient supply, so I think supply is not an issue. The bigger question for the global supply is whether or not the U.S. is making good on its promises of repurposing unused vaccines, getting those to global partners, and pushing other developed countries to do the same.

Israel has already authorised the fourth dose as well, but Dr Patel says further data is needed before a similar decision is made for the United States. The news comes only days after Pfizer said its oral COVID-19 antiviral reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death by 89%.

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