FDA advisory committee recommends Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster

An older man being vaccinated.
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A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted unanimously on Thursday (Oct. 14) to recommend a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster for people who are 65 years of age or older and younger adults who are at high-risk of severe disease or complications due to medical conditions or their jobs. 

Now, it will be up to the FDA to decide whether or not to follow the recommendation from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Though the FDA doesn't always follow the committee recommendation, they often do, according to CNBC. Following the FDA's final decision — which can come in days — a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee will vote.

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If the CDC panel also recommends approval and the CDC endorses it, booster shots will become available for those who received their Moderna vaccines at least six months ago, according to CNBC.

Booster shots for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine were authorized a few weeks ago to the same groups. The Moderna booster shots, if approved, would be half the dose of the two Moderna shots given in the original series of vaccinations.

Though all 19 members of the committee recommended boosters, some members  said Moderna's data wasn't totally convincing that booster shots increased protection or that they were necessary, CNN reported. "The data are not perfect but these are extraordinary times and we have to work with imperfect data," Dr. Eric Rubin, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said, according to CNN.

FDA's advisory committee will also vote on Friday (Oct. 15) whether to recommend a booster shot for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the third COVID-19 vaccine that's approved in the U.S., according to The New York Times.

Originally published on Live Science.

Yasemin Saplakoglu
Staff Writer

Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.