NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration could be on the verge of approving COVID booster shots.

The nation’s top scientists will meet Friday to discuss whether Americans who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will need another dose.

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Not everyone would be eligible for booster shots and some remain unconvinced a third shot is even necessary, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported Thursday.

The debate continues with studies showing a person’s antibody level declines over time after vaccination.


“The confusion comes because we don’t know for sure what a waning antibody level means, vis-a-vis your overall immunity to COVID, because you have other elements of your immune system that can be activate if  exposed to the virus,” said Dr. Daniel Varga, chief physician executive at Hackensack Meridian Health.

Dr. Varga said the data is clear on one thing: immunocompromised people, including the elderly, cancer patients and those with immune-related diseases, absolutely benefit from a third shot because the two-shot dose likely wasn’t enough.

“Because it takes a little more juicing of their immune system to get them up to where they’re protected,” Dr. Varga said.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said there is no clear answer on whether a booster is needed.

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“There is not, which is why we’re having this public discussion on Friday with all of the data out there that everybody can look at,” Dr. Collins said. “This is the right way to get to the answer that we can actually defend and not something arbitrary.”

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The FDA will meet to determine whether a booster dose is necessary and, if so, when people should get them.

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined New York City’s plan to administer the shots as soon as the FDA gives the green light.

The city will set up:

  • 1,900 vaccination sites across the five boroughs
  • 25 city-sponsored sites to prepare for a surge in demand

De Blasio said health officials have started proactive booster shot outreach and plan to hold special events when the shots are authorized.

“It is highly likely that boosters will be authorized for some New Yorkers by next week, and New York City will be ready as the mayor described,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. “One thing we should note, you should expect there to be some minimum interval of several months between your last dose and your booster. Not everyone will be eligible immediately.”

Dr. Chokshi said priority would be given to the elderly and immunocompromised.

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There was no immediate word if the city’s vaccine mandates would expand to include booster shots.

Jessica Moore