Acceleration shot, please? Ready, waiting …

There was an exercise in frustration last week as an editorial writer tried to track down when leadership comes for those who received Pfizer or Modern COVID-19 shots months ago and are still waiting for the green light for acceleration.

Responses are needed soon from federal health authorities. Minnesota and other states are in the midst of another COVID rise, an annoying place to be as winter weather pushes us inside and vacations threaten, creating conditions ideal for virus spread.

Emerging scientific findings add to the urgency. A major new study, one published earlier this month in the prestigious journal Science, found alarming drops in protection against infection over the past year for all three vaccines authorized for use in the United States. Fortunately, the ability of the vaccines to prevent fatal cases of COVID has proven more enduring, but researchers have also found that this protection has varied with age and the type of vaccine.

While health officials have released many vaccine recipients for a further shot, there has been a frustrating lack of communication for Pfizer and Moderna recipients who are not yet eligible. The lack of information is unacceptable and requires a remedy.

Advancements were well accepted for all Johnson & Johnson adult recipients two months after immunization. Adults who have received Pfizer or Moderna are also eligible six months after their initial vaccination series if they are 65 and older, live in long-term care, have underlying illnesses or live or work in high-risk settings.

That still leaves many Pfizer and Moderna recipients. Many who received their shots last spring have now passed the six-month mark, the time period when the Scientific study found that vaccine protection decreased against infection. They of course wonder when it’s their turn for accelerations.

Unfortunately, federal health authorities continue to neglect this large group of vaccine recipients. The questions of an editorial writer last week to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) anxiously gave little guidance.

The CDC has not answered three separate questions about when to reinforce leadership for this group. The FDA responded, but little light. “We are working to obtain additional data as soon as possible to further assess the benefits and risks of booster doses in lower age groups and plan to update the health care and public with our decision in the coming weeks,” a spokesman said.

On Tuesday, Canada expanded an accelerator, enabling a Pfizer accelerator for adults over 18 years of age. Israel was an early adapter, expanding qualification in late August to all over 12 years. Data of the Israeli COVID. public health panel suggests that accelerations restore high levels of protection against infection and severe disease across age groups.

This week, Pfizer filed a petition with the FDA to authorize an acceleration for everyone who is 18 and older. California and Colorado also opened an accelerator to all adults this week.

There has been considerable debate among U.S. health officials about authorizing further firing for the general population. One objection is that means are better used to vaccinate the unvaccinated. Or that vaccines are more urgently needed globally. In an article published in September, two FDA officials also argued that more evidence is needed to justify widespread use of accelerators.

Data has accumulated since then. It’s unclear why the FDA and CDC take so long to make a decision, but it seems the U.S. is lagging behind in vaccine leadership instead of the first edge. FDA and CDC scientists and physicians are among the world’s leading experts. They face important, complicated decisions. But that’s not an excuse to leave anxious vaccine recipients waiting for answers.

Leave a Comment