The Food and Drug Administration has approved an additional booster vaccination dose for those with weak immune systems or who have received organ transplants, it announced on Thursday.
The FDA said that a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may increase protection in those that are “immunocompromised” or have undergone a solid-organ transplant.
Previously only two doses have been authorized by the FDA for emergency use in patients 12 years and older.
“The country has entered yet another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the FDA is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease. After a thorough review of the available data, the FDA determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement.
“Today’s action allows doctors to boost immunity in certain immunocompromised individuals who need extra protection from COVID-19. As we’ve previously stated, other individuals who are fully vaccinated are adequately protected and do not need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine at this time. The FDA is actively engaged in a science-based, rigorous process with our federal partners to consider whether an additional dose may be needed in the future.”
Several other countries including France and Israel have similar recommendations, the Associated Press reported.
The Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Board is meeting on Friday to discuss more recommendations for those with weak immune systems, the FDA said.
“This action is about ensuring our most vulnerable … are better protected against COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said ahead of the FDA’s announcement.