CDC panel backs Pfizer COVID-19 booster for more Americans: 5 details

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted Sept. 23 to endorse booster shots of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for tens of millions of Americans. 

The FDA Sept. 22 granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer boosters in Americans who are ages 65 and older, have a job that increases their risk of infection and are at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Notably, 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, The New York Times reported. 

Five takeaways from the panel's vote:

  1. The members unanimously endorsed giving booster shots to people ages 65 and older and nursing home residents, as well as adults ages 18 to 64 with underlying conditions, according to CNBC.
  2. Thirteen out of 15 members endorsed boosters for people ages 50 to 64 with medical conditions that put them at risk for severe COVID-19, the Times reported.

  3. A majority of the panel recommended boosters for adults ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions based on their individual benefit and risk.

  4. The panel's recommendations are not binding and must be approved by Rochelle Walensky, MD, the CDC director. Dr. Walensky is expected to approve the recommendations Sept. 23 or Sept. 24, the Times reported. Those who fit the CDC's official criteria could start receiving boosters immediately after the official CDC recommendation is made.

  5. The panel did not make any decisions on boosters for people who got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

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