Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Thursday to recommend that certain at-risk groups of people should receive a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for added protection against Covid-19.
All people ages 65 and up and those in long-term care facilities who were initially vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine should receive a booster dose, the advisory panel said. People ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions should also get a booster. The additional shots would be administered at least six months after people complete their initial vaccination series.
The advisers stopped short of a full endorsement for other groups of at-risk individuals, instead recommending that they may choose to get the booster shot if they feel they need it, in consultation with their physician. Those individuals include people ages 18 to 49 with underlying health conditions. The committee voted against recommending a booster for people ages 18 to 64 who have a high risk of being exposed to the virus at work, including health care workers and teachers.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendations partially mirrored the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization granted for the third Pfizer dose Wednesday.
The committee’s votes will now go to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky for final signoff. If Walensky endorses the committee’s recommendations, shots can start being administered immediately. The recommendations will apply only to people who have received the two-dose Pfizer vaccines.
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