Thumbs up for COVID-19 boosters expected, here’s what the data shows


FILE – In this May 11, 2021 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Fauci said Sunday, July 11 “it is entirely conceivable, maybe likely” that Americans will need a third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the coming months, but it was too soon for the government to recommend that now. Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration did the right thing last week by pushing back against drugmaker Pfizer’s assertion about a booster within 12 months. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, File)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)- The FDA is expected to recommend a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccines for some groups of people by the end of the week.

Those groups are likely to be the immunocompromised.

It’s a big category ranging from people with cancer to those who are overweight. It also includes transplant patients.

“At this time only certain immune compromised individuals may need an additional dose. Emerging data, including from a significant study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday, show that there’s an enhanced antibody response after an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in some immunocompromised people,” CDC director Dr. Rachelle Walensky said Thursday during a COVID-19 taskforce briefing.

That data she cited studied 120 transplant patients.

After receiving a third dose, the study found 55 percent of trial participants built antibody levels strong enough to fight the virus. Just 18 percent of participants in the placebo group saw strong enough improvement.

“FDA is working with Pfizer and Moderna to allow boosters for these vulnerable people. An additional dose could help increase protection for these individuals, which is especially important as the Delta variant spreads,” Walensky.

John Hopkins University School of Medicine researchers have also conducted their own studies.

They found that after a first dose, 17 percent of transplant patient built up no antibodies to fight COVID-19. After a second dose, 55 percent saw improvement.

Finally, a third dose built up sufficient protection for a third of people who didn’t build antibodies after the first dose.

Immunocompromised people make up about 3 percent of the population.

While breakthrough cases are rare, 44 percent of breakthrough hospitalizations are in immunocompromised people according to data from the CDC.

If the FDA gives authorization for third doses, the CDC would them come in to provide guidance for the public. This is all expected to happen within the coming days.

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