FDA declines to keep pediatric booster shot recommendations

By Anna Napolitano, CNN The Food and Drug Administration has declined to investigate how current policies around the effectiveness of boosters for children should be updated. Before 2005, babies and children under the age of …

By Anna Napolitano, CNN

The Food and Drug Administration has declined to investigate how current policies around the effectiveness of boosters for children should be updated.

Before 2005, babies and children under the age of 12 years received booster shots at 12 months of age, with another dose at 2 years of age and another booster shot at 5 years of age.

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee — a federal advisory panel convened by the FDA and run by experts from the health care and drug industries and universities — issued a unanimous recommendation against follow-up booster shots for those who already received all they needed.

In a public meeting held Friday, the panel and experts discussed a paper presented last year by Dr. Catherine M. Thompson, then of Children’s Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, who found that children who receive booster shots received a greater amount of disease protection after receiving booster shots compared to children who did not receive booster shots at all.

Since the introduction of the Trivalent Tetravalent Diphtheria-Tetanus-Poisoning (Tdap) vaccine in 1984, boosters were given to children who had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

However, Thompson’s research suggested that children were also benefiting from having booster shots while they were still young.

“We found that the booster Tdap helps kids with autism recover, so that will benefit children with autism,” Thompson said at the time.

A total of 42 experts on the advisory committee considered this recent scientific evidence for and against the recommendation to update the policy for those who already received booster shots.

The results from the committee members are what came out of Friday’s meeting, and are considered the final word in terms of FDA policies.

Three experts, Dr. Robert Daum, Dr. Brian Gays and Dr. Corinne J. Langer, agreed that additional booster shots should not be offered, while three of the other experts, Dr. Geoffrey Harris, Dr. Richard Lynch and Dr. L. Mark Reuter, called for the FDA to move forward with policy development.

After Friday’s decision, the committee voted to reconsider the recommendation in early September.

In its minutes of the meeting, the committee stated that it was “disappointed in the FDA’s decision not to act on the recommendation” and the government agency “needs to revisit these policies.”

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