An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is voicing support for immunocompromised people getting COVID-19 vaccine boosters, ABC News is reporting.
The group of independent experts largely supported immunocompromised people talking to their doctors about getting a booster shot that could increase their antibody response to vaccines, the network news said.
However, the advisory panel did not make any formal recommendation. It said more data was needed.
According to ABC News, about 2.7% of adults in the U.S. are considered to be immunocompromised. They include cancer patients, transplant recipients, people with HIV, and patients on high-dose steroids.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has said it’s "certainly possible" that Americans eventually will be advised to get a booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
"We know that there are some groups of people, people who are immunocompromised, and that's a broad group, so, in particular, people who may be on chemotherapy or may be on drugs that strongly suppress the immune system, where sometimes they do need, you know, some additional help with building immunity," he told CNN on July 13.
"I think it's possible a booster will be needed. But what we're looking for is clear evidence that immunity is waning and that that's consequential in terms of more breakthrough infections. If and when we see that, I can tell you that there will be recommendations made. And if boosters are required, we will have the supply to provide it to the public."
"We don't have a clear timeline yet because it's driven in part by the data. We are constantly looking at the data. And as soon as this signal pops that tells us that there's a decrease in immunity, and at that point, we'll go forth and make the recommendation. But it's hard to predict because it's driven by what the data tells us."
Meanwhile, ABC News reported that the CDC advisory board heard from people wanting a booster.
"We long for a fuller life," said Phil Canudo, a kidney transplant recipient.
He told the panel on Thursday that he had no antibody response after two Pfizer shots.
"I urge you, beg you even, to recommend that we be able to receive a third vaccine dose," he said. "The benefit could open up the world to us again."
And Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a member of the panel said: "We want to vaccinate. During this entire conference, we've been saying, vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. These people want to be vaccinated, they're not vaccine hesitant."
Another committee member, Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, noted that there are millions of excess vaccine doses right now that aren't being taken advantage of.
At the same time, there are immunocompromised patients doing "all they can and still not getting protection," she said.
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