The Food and Drug Administration gave the nod to the jabs Friday morning. Hours later, advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 11-0 in favor of the messenger RNA boosters for all adults at least six months after competing the primary series. Previously, boosters were allocated only for people age 65 and older, those at risk due to work or living situations and some immunocompromised people.
The FDA and CDC advisors also supported a mix-and-match strategy for boosters. So recipients can select a different booster from their primary series. The last step before boosters can launch for all adults is an official recommendation from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
But at the close, Pfizer stock fell 1.2% to 50.80, and shucked off a breakout at 51.96 out of a cup base, according to MarketSmith.com. Meanwhile, vaccine stock Moderna jumped 4.9% to 263.78 on today’s stock market. Shares of BioNTech (BNTX), Pfizer’s partner, surged 5.7% to 289.75.
Vaccine Stocks Diverge On Boosters
Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel applauded the FDA decision. He noted its timeliness with the potential for Covid to spread during the winter months and holiday season.
“This emergency use authorization comes at a critical time as we enter the winter months and face increasing Covid-19 case counts and hospitalizations across the country,” he said in a written statement.
Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech booster, Moderna’s booster is a half-sized dose at 50 micrograms. In comparison, the primary shots are 100 microgram doses. The booster from Pfizer and BioNTech is a 30-microgram dose, a repeat from the two primary shots.
Both companies say the boosters help generate a greater immune response than the initial two-dose series. That’s bullish for the vaccine stocks as they prepare to launch broad boosters, assuming the CDC signs off.
Importantly, the boosters appear to protect against the highly transmissible delta variant.
“Today’s FDA decision is supported by clinical data showing robust immune responses following a booster dose of our vaccine, exceeding what has been seen even after the completion of the highly-effective two-dose primary schedule,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a written statement.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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