COVID-19 boosters: when you could be eligible

booster shots
Posted at 4:14 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 17:14:51-04

BALTIMORE — This week, the FDA is taking a look at approving Pfizer boosters. It could broaden eligibility for Marylanders.

Right now it's only available for those age 65 and older living in congregate care facilities, as well as immunocompromised people.

"Every bit of defense against this virus or any virus gives you more peace of mind," said Dale Lehman.

Because he is immunocompromised, he qualified to get it without a prescription. So Saturday, he got his third dose and had similar side effects as the first two.

"I had a sore arm, still have a little bit of soreness but not too bad," said Lehman.

Wednesday, the FDA released an analysis by Pfizer on the need for a booster shot given about six months after the second dose in people 16 years and older.

Data in the context of the delta variant suggests that vaccine protection against COVID-19 infection wanes 6 to 8 months following the second dose.

"From a review of the literature at the moment, it seems they got the outcome they wanted with boosting the antibodies. It seems to still be resulting in a protective ability, in addition to the adverse events are no different than the first and second shots," said Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, Johns Hopkins lung doctor.

An FDA advisory committee will meet Friday to discuss the application for the booster. Galiatsatos said the big question is who will they identify as the most important populations.

"I don’t think the FDA is going to come up with a blanket comment of everyone get it. My suspicion is they are going to recommend it for very specific groups that we know naturally, their immune system tends to wean over time, such as those who are of an older age," said Galiatsatos.

While vaccination rates continue to rise slowly, there are some concerns about potential breakthrough cases. Lehman was happy he was able to get the added protection.

"The more antibodies you have when you do get exposed, because you are gonna get exposed... it’s not if it’s when... to minimize that and have enough antibodies with my immune disorder to have my body fight that off and not get seriously ill so that’s why it was very important," said Lehman.

A decision from the FDA advisory committee is expected Friday afternoon.