FDA Shortens Time for Moderna’s COVID-19 Booster Dose

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
January 7, 2022 Updated: January 7, 2022

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday revised the emergency use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine by shortening the period of time between receiving the initial two-dose vaccination and the booster shot by one month.

For those aged 18 and older, the FDA now recommends that people receive the booster dose five months, instead of six, after the initial vaccine regimen.

With the update, the FDA argued it is necessary to shorten the time period due to the spread of the highly infectious Omicron COVID-19 variant. Studies have shown the strain is able to infect fully vaccinated individuals with ease.

“The country is in the middle of a wave of the highly contagious omicron variant, which spreads more rapidly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and other variants that have emerged,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in a news release on Friday. “Vaccination is our best defense against COVID-19, including the circulating variants, and shortening the length of time between completion of a primary series and a booster dose may help reduce waning immunity.”

First discovered in southern Africa and Hong Kong in November, studies and data suggest the Omicron variant has milder symptoms than previously dominant COVID-19 strains, including Delta. The World Health Organization (WHO), in a weekly update, said that while Omicron cases have skyrocketed over the past week, overall COVID-19-related deaths have dropped by 10 percent.

The FDA recently shortened the time needed before receiving a Pfizer booster shot by one month, which was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier this week. Like Moderna, the federal drug regular said earlier this week that people can wait five months rather than six months before getting the Pfizer booster.

With Friday’s FDA decision on the Moderna booster, the CDC will now have to sign off on it.

The move to shorten the time needed to get Pfizer or Moderna boosters could factor into whether businesses and organizations make decisions on mandating a booster shot as a condition for employment or entering a business. More and more institutions, businesses, and schools are mandating the extra doses.

Meanwhile, the White House has pushed back against suggestions to change the definition of what it means to be “fully vaccinated” and whether it should include a booster.

Earlier this week, the CDC’s director, Rochelle Walensky, said during a COVID-19 briefing that “we are now recommending that individuals stay up to date with additional doses that they are eligible for” but also said that “individuals are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they’ve received their primary series … that definition is not changing.”

And on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki maintained that the definition won’t change for now.

“What the CDC is advising is for everyone to be up to date on their shots,” she told reporters at the White House. “That means if you’re scheduled at that point to have a booster, you should get a booster, and that is true. That is how they conduct their guidance for basically any shot regimen for diseases.”

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.