Pfizer is expected to brief U.S. health officials about the need for a COVID-19 booster shot in the coming days, several sources told The Washington Post.
The news of the reported briefing comes after government agencies reversed the vaccine manufacturer’s announcement this week that it was seeking authorization for a third dose of its coronavirus vaccination.
Pfizer and six people familiar with the plans confirmed to the newspaper that a meeting could likely take place on Monday. The meeting is expected to be similar to a briefing the company gave to European officials last week about a potential booster shot.
Those familiar with the matter, who spoke to the Post on condition of anonymity, said those invited to the scheduled briefing included the White House chief medical adviser. Anthony FaucicAnthony FauciFauci says Pfizer chief apologized for not giving ‘heads up’ on booster announcement Bipartisan lawmakers press NIH for information on coronavirus data deleted Overnight Health Care: FDA restricts use for controversial new Alzheimer’s drug after criticism | Pfizer applies for FDA authorization for COVID-19 vaccine booster | Home report: Drug companies spent more on buybacks, dividends than on research MORE, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle WalenskyRochelle Walensky The Hill’s Morning Report: Afghanistan’s Future Now Belongs to Afghans, Biden Says California State Capitol Tightens Mask Policy After Recent COVID-19 Cases Risks Grow as Vaccination Gap with Trump Counties Widens MORE.
Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), chief COVID-19 science officer David Kessler and the surgeon general, Vivek MurthyVivek Murthy White House deploys top officials in vaccine blitz White House admits July 4 vaccine mark will be missed The Hill’s Morning Report – What next after the high-stakes Biden-Putin summit? MORE, are also invited, according to the Post.
A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed the meeting to the Post, but the representative did not provide any additional information.
The Hill has contacted Pfizer for comment, as well as the White House, CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Whether a COVID-19 booster shot is needed in the future sparked debate this week after Pfizer/BioNTech said they had seen the companies “encouraging data” from an ongoing trial of a third inoculation.
The companies also cited data from Israel’s Ministry of Health showing that “the vaccine’s efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease declined six months after vaccination.”
However, U.S. health authorities quickly pushed back, with the CDC and FDA saying in a joint statement shortly after Pfizer’s announcement that “Americans who are fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.”
“FDA, CDC and NIH are engaged in a science-based, rigorous process to consider if and when a booster may be needed,” the statement added. “This process takes into account lab data, clinical trial data, and cohort data — which may include data from specific pharmaceutical companies, but not solely on that data.”
“We will continue to review new data as it becomes available and will keep the public informed,” the agencies said. “We are prepared for booster doses as and when science shows they are needed.”
Some experts have warned that pharmaceutical companies have a financial incentive to develop more shots of their vaccines and for the government to buy more doses.
Fauci said Friday that Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla had called him to apologize for failing to warn top health officials ahead of the company’s announcement that it would seek FDA authorization for a third dose.
The country’s top infectious disease expert went on to say that the “coordination that has been going on” between pharmaceutical companies and government agencies “in the rollout of the vaccines over the past four or five months has been extremely good.”