CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Friday signed off on an advisory panel’s recommendation to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all American adults age 18.
Walensky’s endorsement, which was the final step in allowing all American adults to receive the boosters, came after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel voted 11–0 on Friday in favor of expanding eligibility.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously decided to recommend that all adults be made eligible for a booster shot and that every adult age 50 and over receive a booster. The vote came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier in the day approved requests by Moderna and Pfizer to allow all adults to receive their booster shots.
In September, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration recommended against approving a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to most Americans. At the time, the scientific advisory committee voted 16–3 against recommending the additional shots for all adults, after the Biden administration had already begun to herald the forthcoming boosters.
The panel did, however, vote 18–0 in favor of recommending a booster shot for anyone over 65, or anyone who is at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19, and boosters have already been endorsed for those groups by the CDC.
Boosters are also already recommended for people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
Members of ACIP had previously expressed concern that there was not sufficient evidence that boosters are needed for all adults. However, a Pfizer study found that a booster could increase protection against symptomatic infection to about 95 percent.