Businesshala News Exclusive | Long-Covid Concerns Help Fuel Biden Administration’s Broad Vaccine Booster Push

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Some health officials see widespread use of vaccine boosters as a way to further reduce the risk of long-lasting COVID-19

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The administration has publicly argued for a broader booster campaign, citing data that shows immunity from vaccination decreases over time, especially in older people. However, so far Pfizer’s additional dose Inc. NS

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The shot is only approved for seniors and certain high-risk adults. The European Medicines Agency, on the other hand, has more broadly endorsed the Pfizer booster for all adults 18 years of age and older.

According to people familiar with the discussions, within the Biden administration, some officials have advocated the widespread use of additional doses to prevent COVID-19 infection and reduce the risk of developing covid in the long run, even if the risk is low. Be.

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Some doctors and health experts have opposed giving boosters over seniors or to people with weakened immune systems. They say the vaccines appear to protect healthy people from severe COVID-19 and there is no evidence to support widespread use.

Jeremy Faust, an attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine, said health officials should wait to see better data on whether boosters help protect against longer COVID-19 before widening the campaign.

“I don’t know if the booster will reduce COVID in the long run for most people other than the protection already provided by the primary chain,” he said.

There are varying estimates of how long people have COVID, with previous studies estimating 10% to 30% of patients. However, it can be hard to accurately determine how many people have the condition, as it has only recently become an official diagnosis and not everyone agrees on what the symptoms are.

Prolonged covid is usually used to refer to symptoms that last for weeks or months beyond infection, even a mild one. Symptoms include brain fog, fatigue and shortness of breath as well as a racing heartbeat and an inability to tolerate physical or mental exertion.

According to the World Health Organisation, symptoms usually appear three months after the onset of COVID-19, last for at least two months and cannot be explained by alternative diagnoses. They may be new symptoms or persist from the initial disease, and they may fluctuate or reappear over time.

In August, the Food and Drug Administration authorized an additional dose of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and partners BioNTech SE and Moderna. Inc.

For people with weakened immune systems. A booster campaign for the wider public began last month, when the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for seniors and certain people at high risk.

Although the Biden administration had planned to introduce boosters to everyone who had been vaccinated, the FDA told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as senior citizens, many adults with underlying health conditions, and workers at high risk of COVID-19. The scope was limited to some extent. 19 Exposure.

The FDA said it would extend the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization if more data supporting the expansion emerged.

The agency may authorize the use of an additional dose of Moderna’s vaccine as soon as this month, while approval for the Johnson & Johnson booster is expected soon, according to people familiar with the matter.

Federal health regulators are concerned that the risk of developing long-term symptoms from COVID-19 may eventually be higher for people who do not get booster shots because emerging data shows the risk, while the smaller, delta variant, may be increased. , people familiar with the discussion said.

There is emerging evidence influencing regulators a small israeli studyPublished in July by the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that 39 of 1,497 fully vaccinated healthcare workers developed breakthrough infections, and some 19% of them had symptoms for more than six weeks.

A study by British researchers and published in september The Lancet medical journal found that adults who were fully vaccinated are half as likely to report long-term covid if they are infected, but the risk still exists especially among adults who are weak.

Another study on this topic, published last month The journal PLOS Medicine reported that more than a third of people with COVID-19 had symptoms three to six months after infection.

Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said: “Emerging data on long COVID-19 showing gray matter brain degeneration and cognitive decline has led me to think that there is a rationale for vaccinations that can be administered to hospitals. beyond admission and death.” “I don’t want to get Covid for a long time. I am 63 years old. I don’t want a brain scan that looks like a 90 year old man.

Hossein Astiri, one of the authors of recent study Out of 100,000 people with chronic Covid, published by BMC Medicine in September, said giving boosters aimed at avoiding milder cases could help prevent people from developing Covid-19 in the long run.

“We find that many of the patients who have these conditions are young and all these cases are very mild Covid. So we can argue that people are in a better position if they can survive even a mild Covid,” said Dr. Esteri said.

Stephanie Armour at [email protected] and Felicia Schwartz at [email protected]

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