While the vaccine booster is debated, the advisory committee of the United States Medicines Agency (FDA) ruled on Friday, September 17. After a day of debate, the eighteen experts voted for the administration of a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to all Americans over 65 years of age or at risk, but against its injection to the entire population .
The recommendations of this committee are not binding, but it is very rare that they are not respected by the authorities.
This committee, made up of American researchers, epidemiologists and specialists in infectious diseases, was unanimous on the need for a third dose of vaccine for people aged 65 and over, as well as for people at high risk of developing a disease. severe form of the disease six months after the second dose. They believe that caregivers should be included in these people “High risk”.
But this panel also expressed its concerns about the possible side effects that an additional dose of the vaccine would generate if it were administered to the entire population, especially among the youngest. It is thus de facto opposed to the Biden administration’s major recall campaign aimed at adults.
Scientists notably mentioned concerns about the risks of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, in young adolescent males and adult males.
A setback for Biden’s strategy
This decision should be widely interpreted as a setback for the administration of Joe Biden who announced in August the launch of an anti-Covid vaccine booster campaign for all American adults who received their second dose eight months previously from the September 20.
This choice had taken many experts by surprise. Mistrust had spread to the ranks of the FDA, which had issued a document tinged with caution before the meeting on Friday. “In general, the data indicates that the anti-Covid vaccines authorized in the United States still confer protection against severe forms of Covid-19 and death”, assured the Agency in a report.
Two senior officials from the US Medicines Agency also put their names on a letter published this week in the journal. The Lancet against a third dose “At this stage of the pandemic”.
Studies that contradict each other
To convince the entire population of the need for this additional dose, Pfizer cited studies on Friday that demonstrated a drop in protection against infections a few months after the administration of the first two doses.
However, a growing number of American studies show that two doses are sufficient to confer high protection against the serious consequences of the disease – although at slightly lower levels in the elderly.
Pfizer also referred to data showing that the boosters increase the level of antibodies against the Delta variant. “Booster Dose Helps Israel Limit Severe Cases in Fourth Wave”Sharon Alroy Preis, an Israeli health official, said during the presentation.
The American Medicines Agency retorts, for its part, that all the studies are not necessarily reliable and considers that those emanating from research in the United States are “Likely to represent most faithfully the efficacy of vaccines in the American population”.