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FDA advisers recommend that only these people should get the Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots

The FDA may vote to approve boosters for older Americans and other high-risk groups.

Used vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
In this Jan. 22, 2021, file photo, used vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine lay empty at a vaccination center at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
John Locher, Associated Press

A group of Food and Drug Administration advisers has rejected a plan Friday to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all Americans, instead setting up a potential plan that would approve boosters for some at-risk groups.

  • The Associated Press reports that the FDA’s committee of experts voted 16-2 against the Pfizer booster shots, saying Pfizer offered little data to support the need for booster shots.

But the FDA committee of experts voted 18-0 to approve booster shots for older Americans (those over 65) and those who are at high risk for severe COVID-19, according to The Washington Post.

  • It’s unclear what this means for those who received the Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The committee mostly debated the need for COVID-19 boosters, saying that the two doses are more important right now, according to The Associated Press.

“I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” said Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University at the meeting, per The Associated Press. “And I think it’s important that the main message we transmit is that we’ve got to get everyone two doses.”

  • Dr. Amanda Cohn of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at the meeting: “At this moment it is clear that the unvaccinated are driving transmission in the United States.”

The Biden administration said back in August there was a need for additional COVID-19 booster shots, asking Americans to get their shots beginning on Sept. 20. The shots are especially necessary for those with underlying medical conditions, health officials said.

  • Those who are immunocompromised can get booster shots now with a doctor’s approval.

But the FDA said Wednesday that the current batch of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. offer significant protection against severe disease and death, which means there isn’t a big need for everyone to get additional doses, per The Wall Street Journal.