Salt Lake City, Utah — After the FDA advisory panel endorsed emergency approval for Pfizer in certain demographics, a third COVID-19 booster shot could be on the way to Utah.
Adults aged 65 and older, people at high risk for severe illness, and exposure at work are the same Utahns who qualified first for the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Friday the board shot down Pfizer’s request to approve the booster for anyone aged 16 and over, after an extensive discussion.
Intermountain Health’s Medical Director of Preventative Medicine Tamara Sheffield listened in on the nine-hour meeting.
“We’ve got this explosion of cases and hospitalizations and we’ve got to do something to control it. It was very clear the third dose is not the strategy to reduce the spread of the pandemic,” said Sheffield.
According to Sheffield, getting unvaccinated people to roll up their sleeves for an initial dose is still the best strategy.
Health experts believe a third dose will lower the risk of ‘breakthrough cases’ among the most at-risk groups
“We are seeing the breakthrough among older individuals whose immune systems don’t work as well as younger people and people who might be exposed a lot more to the virus due to their jobs like healthcare workers or chronic conditions that put them at higher risk of severe disease,” Sheffield said.
The FDA will have the final word on if the third booster can be used.
The CDC will meet next week to determine who can get one and when.