FDA authorizes 2nd booster shot for people 50+

The Food and Drug Administration is giving the green light for people ages 50 and older to receive a second booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, or a fourth total dose. The authorization is for an additional dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, to be received at least four months after a first booster dose.

Dr. Anna Wald, a UW Medicine clinical virologist and the medical director of the UW Virology Research Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, says the benefits may be limited for the general population over the age of 50 – especially when combatting emerging variants of COVID-19.

“I think the benefit is very marginal in that population,” said Wald. “These vaccines that are currently available do not seem to prevent infection very effectively. But they do work really well, even in three doses, to prevent hospitalization and death.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still needs to approve the authorization before those who are eligible can begin to receive their second booster dose.

Wald’s clinic is currently conducting two studies on the effectiveness of alternative COVID-19 booster doses, with the aim of broadening immune response against current and future variants of the virus. Visit www.uwvteu.org for more information.

“[We’re testing] various approaches to see whether the protection can be broader,” said Wald.

Find information about COVID-19 vaccines through UW Medicine.

Access broadcast-ready video assets featuring Wald discussing second booster doses.

UW Medicine