On Thursday, Sept. 23, vaccine advisors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed giving the booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 years of age and older who reside in long-term care facilities and certain people with underlying conditions.
The assessors voted unanimously to recommend a single booster dose of Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 years and older at least six months after they have been fully vaccinated.
The advisors also voted 13-2 to support giving the booster dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 50 to 64 years with underlying medical conditions.
The decision to vaccinate this population group was prompted by a CDC analysis that showed it was far more beneficial to administer a booster dose to people 65 and older than to people in younger age groups.
Once CDC Director Rochelle Walensky approves the recommendations of the agency's advisory committee, people who meet the criteria could begin receiving booster doses immediately, the New York Times reported.
The recommendations are in line with those previously approved by the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) advisory committee, which endorsed Pfizer's third doses for the elderly and high-risk populations.
The major difference between what the CDC approved and what the FDA approved is that the FDA endorsed the idea of providing booster doses to people whose employment involves special potential exposure to COVID-19, such as doctors, nurses, teachers and supermarket employees.
In contrast, the CDC committee rejected that idea of administering a third dose to groups that may face higher risks due to the nature of their work.