9/24/21 Update: Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky adjusted the recommendations a CDC advisory committee made Thursday regarding Pfizer boosters.
The panel voted against saying people aged 18-64 can get a booster if they have a job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
Walensky disagreed and put the recommendation back in. She said this aligns with an FDA booster authorization decision earlier this week.
Original Story (9/23/21): The panel on Thursday voted against saying that people can get a booster if they are ages 18 to 64 years and are health-care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) approved use of boosters on some Americans Thursday. The vote wrapped up a two-day meeting on the subject.
The video above shows the vote.
ACIP voted on four questions at the end of the meeting:
- Should Pfizer boosters be recommended for seniors and long term care facility (LTCF) residents?
- Should Pfizer boosters be recommended for people aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions?
- Should Pfizer boosters be recommended, “based on individual benefit and risk”, for people aged 18-49 with medical conditions?
- Should Pfizer boosters be recommended, “based on individual benefit and risk”, for people aged 18-64 “who are in an occupational or institutional setting where the burden of COVID-19 infection and risk of transmission is high”?
The first advisory committee vote was unanimous, 15-0 in favor of recommending Pfizer boosters. The second vote was 13-2 in favor, the third 9-6 in favor, and the fourth failed by a vote of 9-6.
Thursday’s votes came a day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized booster shots for seniors, younger adults with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high risk for COVID-19. That decision on boosters was informed by a recommendation issued by the FDA’s own advisory panel last week.
Thursday’s vote was only expected to discuss recommending Pfizer’s booster shot. The question of “mixing and matching” doses (eg. getting the Moderna vaccine and then the Pfizer booster six months later) was brought up for discussion at the advisory committee meeting, but the final votes were only about Pfizer boosters.
While the discussion from medical experts has been dominated by booster shots lately, the priority still is vaccinating the unvaccinated “here in America and around the world,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told the meeting.
According to the latest CDC numbers, just over 64 percent of the eligible U.S. population are fully vaccinated.
Walensky acknowledged the data on who really needs a booster right away “are not perfect.”
“Yet collectively they form a picture for us,” she said, “and they are what we have in this moment to make a decision about the next stage in this pandemic.”