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FDA panel approves COVID-19 booster for 65+, high risk Americans

Hollie Maloney
Posted at 1:39 PM, Sep 17, 2021

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted 18-0 to authorize a Pfizer booster shot for Americans 65 years and older and those at risk of severe COVID-19 infection.

The panel also voted to authorize a booster shot for those who are at risk of severe COVID-19 due to their job, including health care workers, teachers, and essential infrastructure workers.

In a blow to President Joe Biden's vaccine plan, the panel previously voted to not approve booster shots for all Americans.

Biden had previously said that booster shots would be available for Americans by Sept. 20.

In data released by the FDA on Wednesday, Pfizer argued that vaccine booster shots were not only safe and effective but would be necessary for all Americans over 16 because real-world studies show the effectiveness of the first two doses wanes over time.

The data also showed that a third vaccine dose restored efficacy in preventing COVID-19 to up to 95%.

The Associated Press reports that the panel voiced frustration that Pfizer had provided little data on the safety of the extra doses, and wouldn't dramatically change the arc of the pandemic if all Americans were offered a booster shot.

The Centers for Disease Control will meet next week to review the panel's decision.