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FDA, CDC Authorize Pfizer, Moderna Boosters for All US Adults


FILE - A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Penn., on Sept. 14, 2021.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel Friday voted unanimously to make COVID-19 vaccine booster shots available to those 18 and older. The CDC also said those older than 50 should get a booster.

The move comes after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded emergency use authorization for booster shots of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to all U.S. adults.

Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech boosters have been available for some, but now they will be available to anyone who had their second shot at least six months ago. Those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine had already been encouraged to get a booster.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendation Friday evening.

"Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays," she said in a statement.

Before the panel’s decision, Walensky said the CDC had compiled evidence demonstrating boosters are working. Through its National Healthcare Safety Network, the agency has been studying new data from COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities.

She said when comparing cases of COVID-19 between those who are vaccinated with two doses and those who have received a third, booster dose, the rate of disease is markedly lower for those who received their booster shot.

Boosters could be available for all as early as Saturday.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.