FDA likely to OK fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine for those over 50, report says

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize this week a second booster of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines for people 50 and older, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

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The Post cited several unnamed government officials, who said the authorization could be announced as soon as Tuesday.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, is expected to sign off on the FDA decision, according to the unnamed officials.

People over 50 will be eligible to get the second booster at least four months after receiving the first booster.

The second booster has already been recommended for people whose immune systems are compromised.

According to the Post, FDA officials favored a second booster for older people because of concerns about the spread of the omicron BA.2 subvariant.

BA.2 accounts for about a third of the new cases in the United States, according to the CDC.

While the Biden administration is expected to give people over 50 the option for a second booster, it is unlikely to recommend one outright, The New York Times reported.

The plan comes as research shows that the protection provided by three shots of an mRNA vaccine is fading in most people. Public health officials have said a fourth shot would help boost immunity as the BA.2 variant continues to spread across the US. BA.2 is a more contagious version of the original omicron variant.