The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it may vote as soon as Thursday on which group of Americans will be eligible to receive Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots.
A CDC panel met Wednesday to discuss who should be first in line to receive booster shots — a controversial decision that comes over a month after President Joe Biden first announced plans to administer booster shots eight months after the second dose.
Last week, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel overwhelmingly voted to reject the White House plan to give boosters to most Americans.
The panel cited a lack of data on the safety of boosters, as well as a lack of evidence of their value. But it did endorse booster shots for those 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness.
Scientists emphasized that the country's main concern should still be vaccinating those who have not received any doses.
"I want to highlight that in September of 2021 in the United States, deaths from COVID-19 are largely vaccine preventable, with the primary series of any of the three vaccines available," said Dr. Matthew Daley, a CDC adviser who opened Wednesday's discussion.
Just over 55% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. As the highly transmissible delta variant continues to spread, the U.S. is recording its highest daily death tolls from the virus since March.