Medical Minute: COVID-19 Vaccine Update - FDA Approval & Boosters
This week the FDA made a big move, giving full approval to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those 16 and older. The hope is this will bring more people that were waiting for approval to consider getting vaccinated.
"This is what we have been waiting for," said Joe Gastaldo, MD, medical director of infectious diseases for OhioHealth. "We know that the vaccines are effective, we know that they are keeping people out of hospital, and we are excited about the FDA approval for the vaccine."
While that news was certainly welcome, there are still thousands of COVID-19 cases in Ohio daily. Some are breakthrough cases, but the overwhelmingly majority are coming from those who are not vaccinated.
Now many are wondering what the next step is regarding the vaccine. One of the questions that many are asking surrounds a booster vaccine for those who are already fully vaccinated.
Dr. Gastaldo says there are plans in place now for those most vulnerable.
"At this point in time, the only recommendation for a third dose are for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised," Dr. Gastaldo said. "For example, that could be someone who has a weakened immune system from transplant, or someone on a biological agent. It does not necessarily apply to someone who is over 65 and has diabetes and heart disease. The best thing to do is connect with your healthcare provider and see if you qualify."
There are many discussions on the federal level on a third dose for those after 8 months of being fully vaccinated. Dr. Gastaldo says that will have to go through the same type of testing to be sure it is the right decision as the FDA did with the vaccines.
"Experts at the CDC will be looking closely at this," Dr. Gastaldo said. "I'm looking forward to new news on that, hopefully in September."