A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel has endorsed booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, as well as for people with certain high-risk conditions.
The panel on Thursday voted 15-0 to recommend the booster dose for Americans age 65 and older and people in long-term care facilities, reports Xinhua news agency.
It also fully recommended giving a single booster dose to people between the ages of 50 and 64 with certain high-risk conditions, by a vote of 13-2.
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer boosters for people above 65 and older or at high risk between the ages of 18 through 64. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the panel’s endorsement shortly.
Thursday’s development comes after a panel of experts on September 17 endorsed offering Pfizer booster shots for those aged 65 and older, and people 16 and over who are at high risk of getting severe Covid-19 or who work in settings that make them more likely to get infected.
The booster dose is to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series and is the same formulation and dosage strength as the doses in the primary series.
“This first FDA authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine booster is a critical milestone in the ongoing fight against this disease,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer.
“Over the last year and a half, we have aimed to stay vigilant as the pandemic has evolved – including evaluating the impact of a booster dose. We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated. Today’s FDA action is an important step in helping the most vulnerable among us remain protected from COVID-19.”
Last month, President Joe Biden’s administration proposed a plan that would have made all vaccinated Americans eligible for a booster shot eight months after their second shot or first in the case of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.