Federal regulators with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this week authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for Americans at risk for severe cases of the virus. Later, the scientific advisers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended these jabs for the older population and for those with certain medical conditions. However, the CDC panel members said they are not recommending booster shots yet for health care workers.
Initially, the FDA released an authorization of booster shots for the older population and high-risk recipients of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least six months after their second injection. They also approved booster shots for people whose jobs leave them exposed to COVID-19, such as teachers, grocery workers, and health care workers, the New York Times reported.
The science advisers of the CDC have supported the recommendation that booster shots will be made available for adults older than 65 and residents of long-term care facilities. It added that the booster shots would be given to people ages 50 to 64 if they have medical conditions that make them at risk for severe COVID-19.
Following a discussion, the CDC and the majority of the panel recommended that the booster shots will be available to adults ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions. For people whose jobs leave them at risk of being exposed to COVID-19, there was a 9-6 vote, and the majority of the votes excluding such people at risk because of their occupations.
Now, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will make the formal endorsement. Once the final endorsement is made, people who are eligible and meet the criteria will start getting their booster shots immediately.
As far as other authorized COVID-19 vaccines — Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — in the United States are concerned, the FDA did not yet release any authorization for their booster shots.
COVID-19 has so far infected 43,532,306 people in the United States and claimed 702,978 lives, according to worldometer data.