The FDA has authorized a second COVID-19 booster shot for people aged 50 and older. For those who wish to receive an additional booster, it would mark their fourth injection since COVID-19 vaccines were first rolled out in December of 2020.
Until now, the FDA had cleared fourth doses only for people 12 and older who have severely weakened immune systems. The agency said this “especially fragile group” can also get an additional booster, a fifth shot. The latest expansion authorizes an additional shot for all Americans aged 50 years or older, regardless of health status.
The announcement was expected after Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said a fourth dose would be “necessary” due to waning immunity just over two weeks ago. Additionally, Bourla lobbied for an eventual authorization of a second dose for all age groups regardless of health status. “Right now, the protection that you’re getting from the third [dose], it is good enough — actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths — it’s not that good against infections, but doesn’t last very long,” Bourla claimed.