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FDA, CDC Experts OK Booster Doses for All Adults

CDC committee strengthens recommendation for people 50 and older, as well

November 19, 2021

The nation’s public health agencies are expanding who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster dose.

This afternoon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed approving booster doses for all adults who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, clearing the way for CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to make a final ruling.

In addition, the CDC advisory committee unanimously endorsed strengthening its recommendation that everyone 50 and older should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

The vote comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized booster doses for all adults who received the approved mRNA vaccines. The booster dose is recommended at least six months after completing the primary vaccine series.

In a statement, FDA officials said the available safety and efficacy data supported the decision to expand eligibility. All adults who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine were already eligible to receive a booster two months after their initial shot.

“Streamlining the eligibility criteria and making booster doses available to all individuals 18 years of age and older will also help to eliminate confusion about who may receive a booster dose and ensure booster doses are available to all who may need one,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

The vaccines continue to offer strong protection against COVID-19, but an additional dose can help address concerns about waning immunity, officials with the three vaccine manufacturers have said.

The news comes as public health experts are closely watching the spread of the virus heading into the Thanksgiving holiday and winter season. Earlier this week, the nation’s public health leaders urged unvaccinated Americans to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine while encouraging those eligible to make an appointment for their booster.

HAP will continue to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members.