Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has endorsed an advisory committee’s recommendation to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots in certain populations.
Walensky’s move came Thursday after the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, and also gave the green light to mixing and matching booster doses of the three authorized vaccines.
The committee meeting followed Wednesday’s authorization by the Food and Drug Administration of a booster shot of any one of the three coronavirus vaccines available in the United States.
Here are the latest updates:
Update 12 a.m. EDT Oct. 22: CDC Director Rochelle Walensky released the following statement after endorsing the committee’s recommendation:
“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19,” the statement read. “The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant.”
Update 8:26 p.m. EDT Oct. 21: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices modified its interim recommendation to use the same language to cover Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines jointly, according to The Associated Press. That means people can now receive a booster shot from one of the three coronavirus vaccines.
Starting six months past their last Pfizer vaccination, people are encouraged to get a booster if they’re 65 or older, nursing home residents, or at least 50 and at increased risk of severe disease because of health problems.
“We’re at a different place in the pandemic than we were earlier” when supply constraints meant people had to take whatever shot they were offered, CDC adviser Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University told the AP.
Original report: The first vote was adopted unanimously. In a 15-0 votes, the advisory committee adopted the use of a single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that may be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series to individuals will be approved to people 65 years of age and older, people 18 to 64 at high risk to severe COVID-19, and people 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure toSARS-CoV-2.
The second vote was whether to authorize the Johnson & Johnson booster for anyone 18 and over who had gone at least two months since getting the single-shot. That also passed by a 15-0 margin.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will make the final decision, The Washington Post reported. If she agrees with the recommendation, clinicians and pharmacies could begin giving booster doses as early as Friday.
Last month, Walensky broke from the panel’s advice when she decided that frontline workers should receive booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, The New York Times reported.
Once the CDC issues its guidance, state health authorities take over, the newspaper reported. State health agencies generally follow the CDC’s advice, according to the Times.
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