Pfizer to FDA: Authorize booster shots

Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday said they had asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize booster shots of their COVID-19 vaccine for all adults 18 and over, seeking to broaden who is eligible for a third shot.

The move comes as part of a long-running debate among experts over who should be eligible for booster shots. An FDA advisory panel voted against a request for all adults to have a booster in September, in what was a blow to the Biden administration’s earlier announcement of widespread shots.

But the eligibility has been gradually widening as experts point to concerns that the vaccines’ efficacy wanes over time.

The debate: Part of the discussion over boosters for younger adults has centered on whether the goal is to prevent people from being hospitalized with COVID-19 or whether the goal is to prevent them from getting sick at all, even if it is milder.

Some experts have said given that the initial doses of the vaccine have still been holding up very well against hospitalization or death, there is no need for widespread boosters for younger adults.

Anthony Fauci is one of the experts who has argued that preventing any illness from COVID-19 should be the goal, an argument that speaks more in favor of widespread booster shots.

“I think we should be preventing people from getting sick from COVID even if they don’t wind up in the hospital,” Fauci told The Atlantic Festival in September.