By Noah Weiland and Sharon LaFraniere
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized third doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines for some people with weakened immune systems, giving physicians more leeway to protect those who did not respond enough to an initial series of shots.
The authorization, in the form of updates to the existing emergency use authorizations for the two vaccines, applies to people who received solid organ transplants and others with similarly compromised immune systems, the F.D.A. said.
The agency’s decision came a day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent advisory committee was set to consider and vote on whether to recommend the move. The committee is likely to give its approval, and the C.D.C. would follow with its own endorsement of the additional doses.
“The F.D.A. is especially cognizant that immunocompromised people are particularly at risk for severe disease,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting F.D.A. commissioner, said in a statement. “After a thorough review of the available data, the F.D.A. determined that this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines.”