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The U.S. authorises third Pfizer dose, Thailand reduces quarantine

The United States of America (USA) regulators have authorised a booster dose of Pfizer Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine for people aged 65 and over.

Anthony Fauci, an American physician-scientist and immunologist serving as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the President said earlier that he expects messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines to be administered as a three-dose regimen.

The Food and Drug Administration cleared a third dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people some vulnerable groups — the first booster in the United States’ vaccination efforts.

The agency signed off on boosters for people 65 years of age and older, those who are at high risk of severe disease, health care workers, and other people at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 at work.

According to the New York Times, the decision comes a month after the Biden administration announced that booster shots would be available to people in the US starting in September. At the time, scientists and public health experts criticized the administration for pushing boosters before there was clear evidence that they were necessary and before either the FDA or CDC signed off on their use.

In early September, federal officials told the White House that they may have to modify or push back the booster plan while health agencies collected and reviewed data.

Read also: COVID-19 vaccines import raises cargo insurers’ premium

The decision only covers the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine shots, and there are no updated guidelines for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots at this point.

Over the past few weeks, experts debated whether or not third doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were necessary. Data from the US and Israel appear to show that protection against infection with the coronavirus drops off over time, though there are different estimates around exactly how steep that decline might be. The effect is more pronounced for older people. Most data shows that otherwise healthy people who get two shots of the vaccine are still protected against severe illness.

Meanwhile, Thailand is debating reducing its quarantine period for vaccinated visitors to one week.

Singapore signalled that virus cases were rising faster than expected. Australia’s Victoria State saw a daily case record while an outbreak in New South Wales appears to be slowing, as the country battles the Delta variant.

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