The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 booster shots for some Americans — those who are either elderly or at risk of severe COVID-19 — beginning six months after vaccination.
The booster authorization, announced late Wednesday, only applies to Americans who received the Pfizer vaccine, and comes after an independent FDA panel overwhelmingly rejected plans to recommend a blanket booster policy, regardless of age.
“Today’s action demonstrates that science and the currently available data continue to guide the FDA’s decision-making for COVID-19 vaccines during this pandemic. After considering the totality of the available scientific evidence and the deliberations of our advisory committee of independent, external experts, the FDA amended the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for a booster dose in certain populations such as health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
“This pandemic is dynamic and evolving, with new data about vaccine safety and effectiveness becoming available every day. As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed,” she said.
The authorization also applies to “individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19.”
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