FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 091821
Official Statement by City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Department Regarding FDA Emergency Use Authorization of Booster Doses for Pfizer
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a booster of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for those 65+ and those at high risk of severe COVID-19 who have received that particular vaccine more than six months ago. Vaccine has proven to be effective, even against the widely circulating Delta variant, but the protection decreases over time and federal health officials said a booster dose could be needed to prolong the vaccine’s longevity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will be issuing more specific booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence, which should come next week. Until that occurs, boosters will not be administered. Once they are available, the Health and Human Services Department will communicate the options available for eligible groups to receive their booster.
In Long Beach, the top priority of the Health and Human Services Department (Health Department) remains staying ahead of the virus and protecting our community from the spread of COVID-19. The best tool we have to keep the community healthy during this pandemic is the vaccine, and the Health Department is preparing to offer ample opportunities to get free booster doses when they become available.
Currently, third doses are available in Long Beach for people who are moderate to severely immunocompromised. Studies indicate some immunocompromised people do not always build the same level of immunity after vaccination as non-immunocompromised people do and may benefit from an additional dose 28 days or more after their second doses to ensure adequate protection against COVID-19.
The recent FDA decision only applies to those who received the Pfizer vaccine. People who received the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines also will likely need a booster shot, but that is still being determined. The City of Long Beach emphasizes the ongoing urgency of everyone to get vaccinated, and of each person who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to get both doses. Nearly all cases of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 continue to occur among those not yet fully vaccinated.