CDC Chief Overrules Agency Panel and Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Boosters for Workers at Risk
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, on Sept. 24 overruled a recommendation by an agency advisory panel that had refused to endorse booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine for frontline workers. It was a highly unusual move for the director, but aligned CDC policy with the Food and Drug Administration's endorsements over her own agency's advisers. Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from the panel, saying boosters should be offered to people aged 65 years and over as well as those aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions. The extra dose would be given at least 6 months after the last shot. But one of Walensky's endorsements went against the panel's recommendation. She said people should be offered boosters if they are aged 18-64 years and are health care workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus. The White House could begin promoting and rolling out a plan for boosters as soon as Friday. That would be in keeping with the administration's previously announced plan to offer the additional doses this week. Walensky said providing boosters to health care workers and others who risk contracting the disease on the job would "best serve the nation's public health needs." Only Americans who already have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will qualify for boosters.
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