CDC endorses Pfizer boosters for some
An advisory panel of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Thursday in favor of Pfizer’s application to offer third doses of its coronavirus vaccine to people older than 65, nursing home residents, and patients with certain health conditions. The shots can increase immunity to COVID-19, which has been shown to wane six months after vaccination. In a surprise move, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky expanded the list of people eligible for booster shots to include those ages 18 to 64 who work on the front lines of healthcare or live in institutions with a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure like prisons or homeless shelters.
Why did Walensky act alone? The CDC committee said there was not enough evidence to prove young, otherwise healthy people needed a booster, even if they had high-contact jobs. The panel also wanted more data about rare side effects such as heart conditions. Walensky defended her decision, which conformed with a recommendation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good,” she said.
Dig deeper: Read Steve West’s coverage in Liberties about surges of religious exemption requests for COVID-19 vaccines.
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