CDC Shortens Recommended Period Before Pfizer Booster to Five Months
(Bloomberg) -- Faced with a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant, U.S. health officials said people should get a booster shot with the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine five months after their first two shots.
The new recommendation, which shortens the interval from the previous six-month regimen, comes a day after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed its emergency authorization for the shot to reflect a shorter dosing interval for the booster.
“Following the FDA’s authorizations, today’s recommendations ensure people are able to get a boost of protection in the face of omicron and increasing cases across the country,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement Tuesday.
Pfizer shares were down 3.1% to $54.91 at 11:36 a.m. The slide came on top of a 4.1% fall on Monday, the first trading day of the new year. BioNTech’s U.S.-traded shares declined 2.4%.
The U.S. is experiencing a record number of new Covid cases as the omicron variant sweeps across the country. On Monday, more than 1 million new cases were reported -- almost double the previous record of about 590,000 set last week. Monday’s increase was in part the product of a backlog, after states experienced delays in reporting new infections over the holidays.
On Wednesday, a panel of vaccine experts who advise the CDC are expected to discuss recommending boosters for 12-to-15-year-olds with the Pfizer shot.
The committee is expected to vote on recommendations, however, voting language hasn’t yet been made public. After the vote, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will decide whether to sign off on the recommendation. Then doctors, drugstores and other sites could begin giving shots to the age group.
The dosing interval for the Moderna Inc. booster remains unchanged at six months after the first two shots.
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