Coronavirus: Pfizer asks FDA to allow COVID-19 booster shots for all US adults

Pfizer and BioNTech on Tuesday submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration asking for the agency to allow all adults nationwide to receive booster doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.

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The request came after officials with the biotechnology companies said last month that a clinical trial found that booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine restored vaccine efficacy to more than 95%. The study included more than 10,000 participants aged 16 and older who got booster shots as the highly transmissible delta variant circulated widely in the U.S.

>> Related: Coronavirus: Pfizer, BioNTech say booster restores vaccine efficacy to 95.6%

“These results provide further evidence of the benefits of boosters as we aim to keep people well-protected against this disease,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, said last month. “In addition to our efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated, we believe boosters have a critical role to play in addressing the ongoing public health threat of this pandemic.”

Booster doses are already available to people aged 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and otherwise vulnerable Americans beginning six months after they’ve been fully vaccinated.

>> Related: CDC endorses COVID-19 booster shots for people aged 65+ and otherwise vulnerable

The request to expand the availability of Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots comes ahead of what is expected to be a busy holiday traveling season. In a forecast released Tuesday, AAA predicted that 53.4 million Americans will travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020 and within 5% of pre-pandemic levels.

As of Monday, just over 67% of the U.S. population, or 224.2 million people, have gotten at least one dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 58% of the population, or 194.1 million people, have so far been fully vaccinated.

>> Related: Coronavirus: CDC recommends boosters for all three vaccines

About 13% of people who have been fully vaccinated, or 25.3 million people, have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose as of Monday, according to the CDC.

Since the start of the pandemic, officials have reported 46.6 million COVID-19 cases and more than 756,000 deaths across the U.S., according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.

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