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CDC endorses third Pfizer doses for high-risk adults


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday endorsed the distribution of Pfizer and BioNTech‘s Covid-19 booster shots to older Americans and other vulnerable people, including those in high risk occupational and institutional settings.

Millions of Americans who are at the highest risk for Covid will now be able to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot to increase their protection. 

Earlier, the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously endorsed giving third Pfizer shots to people 65 and older and nursing home residents.

Here’s what the CDC recommends:

  • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,   
  • people aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot from Pfizer-BioNTech at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • people aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine at least 6 months after their primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and 
  • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for Covid-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

The panel struggled over a controversial proposal to give boosters to wide swath of the U.S. population, rejecting the plan by a vote of 9-6. It would have distributed the shots to nursing home staff, people who live or work in prisons and homeless shelters, front-line health employees, unpaid caregivers, and other essential workers, like teachers.

“I mean, we might as well just say just give it to everybody 18 and over,” committee member Dr. Pablo Sanchez said before voting against the proposal.

Lisa Wilson receives a shot of the Pfizer vaccine at a mobile COVID-19 vaccination site in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former Baltimore health commissioner, on Twitter called the CDC panel’s vote to reject boosters more widely a “mistake.”

“Really, we are not allowing healthcare workers, many of whom got vaccinated in back in December, to get a booster? What about teachers in cramped classrooms where masks aren’t required?” she tweeted, adding CDC Director Dr. Walensky should overrule the recommendation.

The recommendation doesn’t go nearly as far as President Joe Biden wanted. His administration said it planned to start giving booster shots to people 16 and older this week. While the CDC panel’s recommendation doesn’t give the Biden administration everything it wanted, boosters will still be on the way for millions of Americans who originally received Pfizer’s shots.

The endorsement comes a day after the Food…



Read More: CDC endorses third Pfizer doses for high-risk adults

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