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Pfizer Stock Leaps, Moderna Surges As FDA Approves Adult COVID Booster Shots

The Food & Drug Administration approved booster shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines for all American adults Friday.

Pfizer Inc  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report shares jumped higher Friday, while Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report surged alongside it, after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved the use of their Covid booster shots in all American adults. 

The booster dose, the FDA said, can come six months after the completion of the two-shot series of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines following a review of Emergency Use Authorization approvals for both drugmakers. The FDA approved Pfizer's COVID vaccine, known as 'Comiranty', for booster shots in older and at risk Americans in late September, one month after asimilar nod for Moderna's in immunocompromised individuals.

A panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet later Friday to assess the booster shot application as President Joe Biden continues to push for broader take-up of the vaccines heading into the winter months.

The urgency was also accelerated by a deadly fourth wave of infections in Europe here Austria imposed a national lockdown, set to begin on Monday, after recording more than 14,000 new infections yesterday. Austria will also make vaccination for all its citizens mandatory, becoming the first country in the world to issue such an edict.

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That move followed a dire warning from outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the Covid situation "dramatic" as infections surge and fatalities rise.

The lockdown, as well as fresh restrictions on movement and businesses in Germany, pushed the euro to a mid-July low of 1.1289 against the U.S. dollar and clipped bets on near-term energy demand in the world's biggest economic bloc.

“As we near the two-year mark in our fight against COVID-19, we have reached another critical milestone with the expanded authorization of a booster dose of our COVID-19 vaccine in individuals 18 years and older,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “With boosters, more adults will now have the opportunity to help preserve a high-level of protection against this disease. We are grateful to the FDA for their rigorous review, and the action taken today that we hope will help accelerate our path out of this pandemic.”  

Pfizer shares were marked 1.85% higher in early trading Friday to indicate and opening bell price of $52.35 each. Moderna shares, meanwhile, surged 5.2% to $264.50 each.

Earlier this week, Pfizer agreed to sell 10 million doses of its developing Covid antiviral pill Paxlovid, which is currently being reviewed for Emergency Use Approval by the FDA, to the United States Department of Health and Human Services for around $5.3 billion.

At $530 per tablet, the cost is around 25% cheaper than the $700 price agreed with Merck & Co.  (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report last month to buy 1.7 million doses its 'molnupiravir' treatment of "mild-to-moderate Covid in adults who are at risk for progressing to severe forms of disease, or hospitalization.