COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccineiStock

The US government likely will soon recommend booster shots to people as young as 40 who received either Moderna or Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, a source familiar with the plan told CNN on Tuesday.

“I believe it will happen,” the source said.

The source added that there is “growing concern within the FDA” that US data is beginning to show hospitalizations among people under age 65 who have been fully vaccinated.

Last month, the FDA authorized booster shots for people age 65 and older who received their second shot of Pfizer’s vaccine at least six months ago.

For younger people, the booster is authorized only for certain groups, such as those with certain health conditions or those working in jobs that put them at high risk for contracting COVID-19.

Israeli researchers told the FDA advisers last week that the boosters, which are offered in Israel to people of all age groups, have reduced the rate of severe disease in people over age 40.

At that meeting, a senior FDA official said the Israeli data “seems compelling”, according to CNN.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, mentioned that newly emerging data in the US “makes us realize that we’re concerned that what was seen in Israel could be seen here."

“We don’t want to have a wave of severe COVID-19 before we deploy boosters,” he added.

Last week, the FDA’s advisory panel unanimously voted to recommend booster shots of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness or occupational exposure to the virus.

A day later, the panel also voted in favor of a second shot of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine.