For individuals with weakened immune systems, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a booster dosage of COVID-19 vaccinations from Pfizer and Moderna on Thursday.
FDA Ammended the Emergency Use Authorization
In a recently published article in Reuters, on Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration modified the vaccines' emergency use authorizations to enable an extra dosage in select people, including solid organ transplant recipients and those diagnosed with diseases that are deemed to have an equal degree of immunocompromise.
COVID-19 cases in the United States have risen to their highest level in more than six months, due to the Delta variant. According to U.S. health authorities, those with weakened immune systems may not be adequately protected by their current COVID-19 vaccines.
Pfizer has said that the vaccine it developed with BioNTech loses efficiency with time, citing a trial that showed 84 percent effectiveness four months after a second dosage, down from a high of 96 percent. Moderna, on the other hand, has said that booster doses will be required in the future, particularly because the Delta variant has caused "breakthrough" infections in fully vaccinated individuals, according to a published article in MSN News.
Recent Studies for Immunocompromised and Organ Transplant Recipients
Only around 15 percent of patients with solid organ transplants had an immune response to the first dosage, and only approximately half had one to the second dose, according to research. A percent of individuals who had no reaction to the first two dosages reacted to the third, according to later studies. Even individuals with normal immune systems showed a lower antibody response than those with abnormal immune systems.
Research released on Wednesday backed up the benefits of a third dosage in transplant patients. It is unclear how many of those sick after immunization are transplant patients or otherwise immunocompromised, but physicians have said anecdotally that they make up a significant portion of those admitted to hospitals with so-called breakthrough infections, according to a published article in USA Today.
In a study published in the Transplantation, COVID-19 is more likely to cause severe illness in those who have compromised immune systems. A transplant patient's chance of developing a breakthrough infection is 82 times higher than the general population's, and their chances of hospitalization or death are 485 times higher.
Fauci Supports Third Shot for Immunocompromised
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Editorial Board of a news outlet that he believes the regulations for the immunocompromised should be modified to enable patients to get an extra vaccination dosage amid the spike of new cases in the country.
Booster dosages are not required by the general population, according to him and other authorities. Although protection is anticipated to wane between 6 and 12 months, vaccinations seem to be effective in avoiding severe illness; yet the overwhelming majority of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization's director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has urged nations to delay booster injections for healthy individuals until after the more susceptible people across the world have had their first shots. Several immunocompromised people have already taken matters into their own hands, discreetly receiving an additional dosage of vaccination, but the exact number is unknown.