Locals react to FDA advisory panel’s decision to limit Pfizer’s booster shots to the most vulnerable

Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An FDA advisory panel overwhelmingly voted against giving Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shots to most people yesterday.

The panel agreed to only give them to the most vulnerable - those with underlying health conditions as well as those 65 and older.

The panel’s recommendation will now go to the FDA, which isn’t required to follow the panel’s vote but usually does.

A medical group called Harmony House Calls and Medical Services put 43 COVID-19 vaccine shots into arms Saturday at the Clinton Public School District’s Central Office.

A nurse practitioner and the group’s CEO, Stacia Dunson, said that while the FDA advisors’ recommendation to limit booster doses to the most vulnerable is important, her primary focus remains distributing first and second doses.

“If you don’t have the first or second dose, there’s no conversation for the third dose,” Dunson said.

She points to Mississippi, where the percentage of people fully vaccinated is only at 42%. That’s 12% less than the national average.

“We have to target the people that are unvaccinated because that’s who the major carriers are,” Dunson said. “That’s who we’re seeing who’s admitted to the hospitals and unfortunately passing away, especially people under 50, from COVID-19 because they weren’t vaccinated.”

Jessica Crawley got her first dose Saturday. She said she was hesitant to get the shot while pregnant but wanted to get it done before heading back to the classroom as a teacher.

“I just felt like it was time to go ahead and make sure that I wasn’t going to be exposed to things to bring home to the baby and also to do my part in school to stop spreading the virus,” Crawley said.

She said if there’s still a major outbreak when she becomes eligible for a booster shot, she’ll likely get one. But for now, she agrees with the panel’s decision to recommend a third shot to the most vulnerable first.

“As we see what supplies we still have left and things like that, then open it up to more and more people,” Crawley said. “I do think that’s probably smart just as more people are still getting their first dose as well.”

Officials with the Biden administration have pushed giving out booster shots to the general public starting next week.

Whether that happens will depend on the decisions of both the FDA and CDC.

A group of advisors to the CDC will take up the booster shot debate in a two-day meeting next week.

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