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Advisors to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday will consider evidence suggesting that a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines could increase protection for people with compromised immune systems.
Data presented prior to the meeting noted that such individuals have a reduced antibody response following the recommended primary vaccination course compared to healthy individuals.
“Emerging data suggests that an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose in immunocompromised people improves the antibody response and increases the proportion that respond,” slides released ahead of the meeting showed.
The committee is not scheduled to vote on a recommendation on whether or not to administer additional doses. That could be decided at a later meeting.
In small studies, the short-term side effects of a third dose of mRNA vaccines — such as those made by BioNTech/Pfizer Inc or Moderna Inc — were about the same as those seen with the first two doses, the CDC said in its presentation.
An estimated 2.7 percent of American adults live with a weakened immune system, according to the CDC presentation, based on 2013 data. their immune response.
Those individuals are at increased risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Last week, Israel began administering third doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to immunocompromised people, including those who have had heart, lung, kidney or liver transplants and cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
Some experts believe the CDC is approaching a similar recommendation in the US.
The CDC has urged people with weakened immune systems to take precautions, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Not only does the virus pose an additional health risk to these people, but because it takes longer for them to clear the virus, scientists believe infections could lead to new variants as the pathogen continues to replicate unchecked, as some studies have shown.
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