U.S. FDA advisers to discuss COVID vaccine boosters in April

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A person wears a required protective face mask on a bus amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Washington, U.S. January 31, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger

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March 21(Reuters) - The U.S. drug regulator said on Monday a panel of independent advisers will meet on April 6 to discuss considerations for use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said no vote was planned at this meeting and there will not be any discussion of any of the COVID vaccine makers' applications for additional boosters.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE), as well as rival Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) last week sought emergency use authorization from U.S. health regulators for a second COVID booster shot, as a surge in cases in some parts of the world fuels fears of another wave of the pandemic. read more

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee's (VRBPAC) discussion will focus particularly on factors that need to be looked at to update the strains that make up the vaccines as well as the timing and populations for booster doses.

"Now is the time to discuss the need for future boosters as we aim to move forward safely, with COVID-19 becoming a virus like others such as influenza that we prepare for, protect against, and treat," said Peter Marks, director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

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Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Shinjini Ganguli

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