Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a lengthy debate on Thursday before endorsing giving booster doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to people 65 and older, long-term care facility residents and certain people with underlying conditions.
The FDA on Wednesday had authorized giving boosters to people 65 and older and those at higher risk of severe disease and death, as well as people such as health care workers at higher risk of breakthrough infections because of their work. The CDC advisers voted unanimously to recommend a single Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine booster to people 65 or older and long-term care facility residents at least six months after they were fully vaccinated.
They also voted easily to recommend boosters to people 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that might put them at higher risk of severe disease. Such people might include patients with cancer, stroke, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, diabetes, heart conditions, obesity, as well as pregnant women and smokers, the CDC’s Dr. Kathleen Dooling told the meeting.
After further talks, they voted against recommending boosters for people whose occupations put them at high risk of infection. “We may just as well say give it to everyone 18 and older,” said Dr. Pablo Sanchez, a professor of pediatrics at Ohio State University.
“I feel very uncomfortable about this,” said Dr. Wilbur Chen, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The implementation part of this is going to be fraught with such complexity that the people with the best health literacy will get boosters.”
But ACIP chair Dr. Grace Lee, a Stanford University pediatrician, said her personal experience made her aware of the need to make boosters widely available. “I have cared for children who have died of Covid,” she said. “Their family members wish that they had extra protection for their kids.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: POST GAZETTE
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