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Last month, the US Food and Drugs Administration has given authorization for Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for people who are immunocompromised. The Wall Street Journal reported that health regulators are planning to discuss this Friday Pfizer's application for a COVID-19 vaccine third dose for people 18 years old and above after six months since their last vaccination.

The US FDA is hoping that booster shots will give extended protection for the public to help them fight contagious variants of the virus COVID-19, such as the Delta variant.

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(Photo : Getty Images)
A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Clalit Health Services in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Beit Hanina, in the Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem on August 29, 2021. - Israel widened access to a third coronavirus vaccine jab to anyone aged 12 and up, with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett insisting it was an effective way to contain an infection surge. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Booster Shots and COVID-19 Third Dose

According to the news website of Johns Hopkins Medicine, booster shots for COVID-19 are additional vaccines given after the protection provided by the two original shots that over time displayed a decreasing immunity against the virus. Booster shots are typically given after the initial dose starts to wane, and is designed to help vaccinated people to maintain a certain level of immunity for a longer time.

On the other hand, third doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine of Moderna and Pfizer are identical to the first two doses given. Those with a weakened immune system and did not have a strong immune response after the two doses of mRNA vaccines can receive a third dose 28 days after the second dose.

Both the US FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend immunocompromised individuals to get a third dose of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine that they initially received for better protection.

 ALSO READ: COVID-19 Vaccinated People Who Get Infected Less Likely to Spread the Virus, Fauci Says

Who Will Receive Booster Shots?

Federal health officials said that current data consistently demonstrate that there is a reduction of vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19. US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in a briefing that although vaccines are highly effective, their effectiveness has slowly waned over time, and now they are planning to push for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

NPR reported that studies on why booster shots are needed show major increases in COVID-19 disease, hospitalization, and death even among vaccinated individuals.

Moreover, US President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, presented recent evidence showing that the third dose of mRNA vaccine increased the antibodies against the virus and its variants.

According to Kare 11, President Biden announced last month that booster shots might be given to all Americans by September 20 once the US FDA and CDC approve the third dose for the public. Those who received their second shot of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at least eight months ago are eligible to receive the third dose.

But infectious disease expert Dr. Frank Rhame of Abbott Northwestern Hospital said that the timeline is highly unlikely, but it could possibly happen next month. Dr. Fauci also noted that Pfizer vaccines could be given out first before Moderna, while Johnson & Johnson is also considering giving out booster shots.

Claire Hannan, head of the Association of Immunization Managers, said that giving out booster shots should go more smoothly than the first two doses since there are more supplies of the vaccine now and lessons have been learned during the initial bumpy vaccine rollout. Perhaps people can now get their third dose from their local pharmacies, workplaces, and doctors.

RELATED ARTICLE: 3rd COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Shot for Immunocompromised Persons; Moderna and Pfizer Hoping To Get Clearances Soon

Check out more news and information on COVID-19 Vaccines in Science Times.