The FDA’s approval late last night of Covid vaccine booster shots for millions of people with weakened immune systems could help boost public confidence in how the Biden administration is managing the changing course of the coronavirus crisis.
Action By CDC
The Washington Post reported today that, “A federal advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted overwhelmingly Friday afternoon to recommend an additional dose of coronavirus vaccines for some immunocompromised individuals.
“CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept that vote and give final approval within hours, paving the way for millions of moderately or severely immunocompromised people to get a third shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines as soon as this weekend.”
The actions by the federal agencies could set the stage for a decision later this year on whether everyone who gets vaccinated should receive a booster shot at some point.
Two Important Attributes
Trust and confidence are essential attributes when dealing with crisis situations.
Last week Politico reported that, “Americans’ approval of President Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic slipped to 53 percent, while his job approval rating fell more slightly, as concerns about the U.S. Covid-19 response mounted, according to a poll released Wednesday.”
Although there is no apparent link between Biden’s poll numbers and the FDA’s or CDC’s decisions, any effort by his administration to stem the tide of the pandemic and help those who may be the most at risk of an infection should be welcomed by the public—or at least by those who have been or will be vaccinated.
Staying On The Same Page
An important part of the equation when communicating about a crisis is that everyone who speaks about the crisis should be on the same page and deliver consistent messages.
In July, I reported on the conflicting messages that Pfizer and the U.S. government were sending at that time about the need for a third dose of the company’s vaccine. On July 30, I wrote about the apparent conflicting messages that the CDC and the White House were expressing about the pandemic.
As of this writing, there does not appear to be any confusion or ambiguity about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s booster announcement or conflicts with the administration’s policies, statements or other actions.
According to the FDA’s press release, “The country has entered yet another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D.
“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from Covid-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine at this time. The FDA is actively engaged in a science-based, rigorous process with our federal partners to consider whether an additional dose may be needed in the future.”
More Approvals Coming?
Vino Palli, MD, is the founder and CEO of MiDoctor Urgent Care in New York City. He said, “It will not be long before the general public is approved for booster shots as studies are showing that all existing vaccines, with the current dosage regimen, are losing effectiveness in getting an infection.
‘However, the current regimen of vaccines is still preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. Folks should be prepared to get their booster in the fall or winter,” he predicted.