CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – A lot more people could soon be eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot. Pfizer asked the FDA on Tuesday to expand its emergency use authorization for booster doses to include everyone 18 and older.
Mital Patel wants to make sure his family is protected from COVID-19. It’s why he got his daughters their shots and why he’ll get a booster for himself when he’s eligible.
“I trust the science. I think they’ve done the research,” he said.
Pfizer asked the FDA to authorize booster shots for any adult 18 and older. It’s an idea an FDA advisory panel rejected a couple of months ago, instead limiting boosters for people who received Pfizer or Moderna to those 65 and older or at higher risk due to their jobs, living situations, or health conditions.
CBS 17 asked UNC infectious disease expert Dr. David Wohl what’s changed between then and now.
“I think a few things,” he replied. “One is prioritization. We really did need to get everyone who we could get vaccinated fully vaccinated. Then we expanded who can get vaccinated now to kids who are 5-11.”
“The idea here is get the people who are most at risk vaccinated and boosted first, and then we can start moving on to other people,” he added.
Wohl said there needs to be more data than in September about the safety of booster shots and how well they work.
“It looks like, even if you were younger and healthier, there was a reduction in hospitalization, which is great,” he said.
It’s not clear when the FDA will make a decision on boosters, but Wohl said as the holidays approach, the more people protected, the better.
When it comes to mixing and matching vaccine types, which is currently allowed for those eligible for boosters, Wohl said he doesn’t necessarily expect any major changes, but that will be up to the FDA and CDC.
If the FDA expands authorization for the booster, the CDC will then recommend how they should be used.
As for Patel, while his daughters are waiting on dose two, he will wait to see whether he’ll qualify for a third shot.
“I probably will get it relatively soon,” he said. “I don’t have a huge sense of urgency because I am vaccinated with the first two doses, but I’m also not going to wait very long either.”