Israel to present COVID-19 booster shot data to FDA experts

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Vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are pictured in a vaccination centre in Geneva, Switzerland, February 3, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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JERUSALEM, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Israel this month will present data from an extensive rollout of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is weighing White House plans to begin a booster drive in the United States.

Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health at Israel's Health Ministry, said the ministry had been asked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to brief its advisors at a Sept. 17 meeting.

The virtual session will consider a third booster shot of the Pfizer Inc (PFE.N)/BioNTech SE (22UAy.DE) vaccine, and may discuss others. read more

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"We have been asked to come and present Israel's experience and our data so that we can truly help the whole world to learn," Alroy-Preis told Israeli Channel 12 TV news.

A week ago Israel began offering a Pfizer COVID-19 booster to people as young as 12 in a campaign that began in July among seniors. Israeli health officials said the drive has slowed a rise in severe illness caused by the Delta variant.

Officials have said the effectiveness of the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine waned five months after administration, making a booster necessary. A third dose, they said, restored the level of protection of the second shot.

So far 2.6 million people out of a population of 9.3 million have received three doses of the Pfizer vaccine in Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden had been expected to launch a campaign to administer 100 million booster shots on Sept. 20. But U.S. vaccine makers other than Pfizer have lagged in seeking authorisation for an additional dose.

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Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; editing by John Stonestreet

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