The Union Democrat

COVID booster shots backed for all adults in CDC advisers’ vote


COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. received unanimous backing for use in all U.S. adults from public health advisers, clearing the way for millions to gain additional protection before the threat of a winter surge.

All 11 advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted in favor of third doses for people 18 and older just hours after they were cleared Friday by U.S. regulators. The committee also voted to recommend that people age 50 and older should receive the boosters. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky still must sign off on the recommenda­tion from the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunizati­on Practices before vaccinatio­ns begin.

Booster shots of messenger RNA vaccines have been available for people 65 and over along with others at higher risk of severe disease since midSeptemb­er. Under Food and Drug Administra­tion guidelines, any of the three authorized shots — including one from Johnson & Johnson — can be used as a booster, regardless of which vaccine a person received initially.

However, at least nine states are already offering booster shots to all adults, going beyond federal guidance and reigniting the national debate on eligibilit­y for the supplement­al doses. The patchwork of state and federal guidelines may be standing in the way of some people getting vaccinated. Four in 10 vaccinated adults are unsure whether they are eligible for a booster, according to an October survey.

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