CDC director recommends boosters for healthcare workers, despite panel's vote

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, recommended booster doses for healthcare workers and other Americans whose jobs put them at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection, siding with the FDA's recommendation instead of her own agency's advisory panel, according to The Hill.

Three things to know:

  1. On Sept. 22, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for Americans who are ages 65 and older, have a job that increases their risk of infection or are at high risk of severe COVID-19.

  2. On Sept. 23, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for tens of millions of Americans. However, the CDC's vaccine panel voted, 9-6, not to endorse boosters for people with jobs that increase their risk of infection, going against the FDA's authorization.

  3. In a rare move on Sept. 24, Dr. Walensky overruled the CDC's advisory panel, saying people whose jobs put them at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection should be eligible for boosters.

    "As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact. At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good," Dr. Walensky said in a statement.

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