CDC panel to vote on who should receive COVID-19 booster shot

A panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccinations is scheduled to vote on Thursday on who should be the first to get a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

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The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met Wednesday and is expected to vote Thursday to decide which group to recommend for the first booster shots of a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a COVID-19 booster shot six months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for those 65 and older, younger people at high risk for severe disease, and workers whose jobs put them at extra risk for infection.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 22 million people are six months out from their second dose of the vaccine. Roughly half of that number are 65 or older.

If the ACIP votes in favor of a booster shot, the CDC is expected to act quickly on the decision, allowing the booster program to begin in the U.S. within days.

While the panel on Thursday is only considering Pfizer’s request for a booster shot, both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have said they will be submitting trial results for consideration of booster shots of their vaccines.

According to the CDC, no major safety concerns with the booster shot were seen in the more than 20,000 people who were tracked after receiving a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

More than 4.7 million people have died from the virus since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. More than 386 million doses of one of the three COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the United States.