Pfizer Inc, the maker of the COVID-19 vaccine, said on Sunday that it will meet with federal health officials as soon as Monday to discuss the need for boosters dose of the coronavirus vaccine as it prepares to seek approval.
The meeting comes just days after the drugmaker and its partner BioNTech SE announced plans to seek U.S. and European regulatory approval for the third dose of their COVID-19 shot in response to the spread of variants and data showing a heightened risk of infection six months after initial inoculation.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention responded quickly, stating that Americans do not require a boost at this time.
Pfizer is scheduled to meet with FDA representatives on Monday, according to a company spokesperson. The Washington Post was the first to report on the meeting.
The US Department of Health and Human Services did not comment on the statement made by Pfizer.
According to the Post, those invited to the briefing included Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser who also directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as well as the heads of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a series of television interviews on Sunday, Fauci stated that while U.S. health officials are not dismissing the possibility of future boosters particularly in light of breakthrough infections among those who have been vaccinated, more data is needed before any formal recommendation can be made.
Fauci told ABC News, “There’s a lot of dynamic things going on right now. “This Week” program.
“There are studies being done now ongoing as we speak about looking at the feasibility about if and when we should be boosting people… there’s a lot of work going on to examine this in real-time,” he said on CNN
Despite the FDA and CDC’s statement, “that doesn’t mean that we’re not very, very actively following and gathering all of this information to see if and when we might need it and if and when we do, we’ll have everything in place to do it.”
As the highly contagious Delta variant has grown to be the nation’s dominant strain, with COVID-19 cases rising primarily among the unvaccinated, health officials in the United States are still struggling to get people in some areas to receive their initial immunizations.
Vaccines currently appear to be protective against variants, according to European officials. Canada has also stated that it is closely monitoring variants and the potential need for boosters.
While some scientists have questioned the need for boosters shot, others have stated that they could benefit the elderly and other vulnerable populations, though it is unclear when they would be required.
Some public health experts are also concerned that allowing booster shots in wealthy developed countries while other countries struggle with initial immunizations will exacerbate vaccine inequity.