There are a lot of questions and concerns about the status of President Joe Biden’s health but, to a far lesser extent, there are also some questions and concerns about Vice President Kamala Harris’ health.
On Friday, Vice President Harris received a second booster shot of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, Fox News reported. The 57-year-old politician had received her first booster shot in October last year.
Just two days earlier, President Biden had publicly received his second booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, while Biden’s booster was delivered on camera, Harris’ was a private affair.
“Yesterday I received my second COVID-19 booster shot,” Harris tweeted Saturday morning. “We know that getting vaccinated is the best form of protection from this virus and boosters are critical in providing an additional level of protection. If you haven’t received your first booster — do it today.”
The second booster shot authorized for older adults, immunocompromised
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for an additional booster shot — or a fourth dose overall — of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for adults age 50 and older or anyone over 12 with a compromised immune system.
Later that same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that a second booster shot be considered as an option but declined to urge everyone to immediately receive that additional dose.
The AP noted that Pfizer had requested authorization for a second booster for adults 65 and older while Moderna had requested second booster authorization for all adults.
The FDA — which based its decision on a study of second booster shots in Israel — appears to have split the difference in those requests and set 50 as the age at which a second booster is authorized given that that age is roughly when the risks of a severe COVID infection dramatically increase.
FDA and CDC recommendations
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” top FDA official Dr. Peter Marks said Tuesday. “Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals.”
Marks also “strongly encouraged” all adults who had not yet received a first booster shot after being fully vaccinated to quickly do so in order to be more protected from “potentially severe outcomes” of a COVID infection.
“Today, CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Boosters are safe, and people over the age of 50 can now get an additional booster 4 months after their prior dose to increase their protection further.”
“This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time,” she added. “CDC, in collaboration with FDA and our public health partners, will continue to evaluate the need for additional booster doses for all Americans.”