CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late on September 23.
The group said boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra vaccine dose can also be given to people between the ages of 18 and 64, who are at increased risk of virus exposure because of the work they do.
“As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” Walensky said in a statement. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”
The CDC also endorsed the vaccine advisers’ recommendation that people ages 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions get the booster.
The extra dose of the vaccine is only being given to people who received both doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least six months ago.
Moderna has asked the FDA to authorize booster shots for its vaccine, but has not received approval. Johnson & Johnson released partial data this week that it said showed a booster dose of their vaccine raised immunity, but the company has not yet applied with the FDA for booster dose consideration.
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