For an archived version of live coverage of the hearing of the FDA’s advisory panel, click here.
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously Thursday in favor of authorizing booster shots of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine to people 65 and older, those 18 to 64 with risk factors for severe Covid-19, and those whose jobs put them at high risk of serious complications of Covid-19, such as health care workers.
After hours of deliberation, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 19-to-0 that the Moderna booster should be authorized for these groups. The panel also discussed at what point boosters should be recommended to all adults over 18.
The Moderna booster consists of a 50-microgram dose, half the normal dose of the shot.
The groups recommended for the Moderna booster are the same ones authorized for the booster made by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The FDA is not bound by the votes of its advisory committees, which it convenes to ask for guidance, but it generally follows their advice. The booster shot is being granted an emergency use authorization, used to speed the approval of products during public health emergencies, not a traditional approval.
This summer, the Biden administration said it intended to make booster shots broadly available as early as September. But many scientists have pushed back, saying that there is not enough evidence that the efficacy of the vaccines against severe Covid, hospitalizations, and death is waning.
On Friday, the FDA advisory committee will meet to discuss data regarding giving a booster shot to all people who have received the Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine, as well as a study that suggests it might be possible, or even advantageous, to mix and match boosters of different vaccines.