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Pfizer, BioNTech to meet with feds over emergency OK for COVID-19 booster shot

By Kyle Barnett
Pfizer, BioNTech to meet with feds over emergency OK for COVID-19 booster shot
Pfizer and BioNTech will meet with federal health officials Monday to discuss booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine . Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

July 12 (UPI) -- The companies that marketed the country's first COVID-19 vaccine are set to meet with federal health officials Monday to discuss booster shots.

The meeting between Pfizer and BioNTech and the United States Food and Drug Administration comes after an emergency authorization request aimed to get booster shots out within the next 12 months.

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Pfizer and BioNTech announced the launch of a booster shot aimed at the Delta variant last week.

The National Institutes of Health also reported it is also studying the effects of booster shots.

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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla indicated earlier this year booster shots may be needed.

"A likely scenario is that there will be likely a need for a third dose, somewhere between six and 12 months and then from there, there will be an annual revaccination," Bourla said.

The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have indicated fully those who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot.

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"Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time," the FDA and CDC said in a joint statement.

However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- and a adviser to President Joe Biden -- recently said booster shots may be needed.

"Although the vaccines currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration offer strong protection against COVID-19, we need to prepare for the possibility of needing booster shots to counter waning immunity and to keep pace with the evolving virus," Fauci said.

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The World Health Organization said the science does not yet in support booster shots.

"We don't know whether booster vaccines will be needed to maintain protection against COVID-19 until additional data is collected," the WHO told CNN. "Limited data [are] available on how long the protection from current doses lasts and whether an additional booster dose would be beneficial, and for whom."

An Israel Ministry of Health study found the Pfizer vaccine's efficacy decreased from 94% to 64% and that a third dose of the vaccine -- or booster shot -- greatly increases antibody levels.

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The Israeli study indicates a decrease in the effectiveness of Pfizer's vaccine over time.

"As seen in real world evidence released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy has declined six months post-vaccination, at the same time that the Delta variant is becoming the dominate variant in the country," Pfizer and BioNTech said in a statement reported by CNBC.

Israel has also begun offering a third dose of the vaccine to those at high risk.

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