CDC opens COVID-19 booster shot eligibility to all adults

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, on Friday evening endorsed a recommendation made earlier in the day by one of the agency’s advisory boards that called for all fully vaccinated adults to gain access to COVID-19 booster shots.

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Update 6:50 p.m. EST Nov. 19: In a statement released Friday evening, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky emphasized that the recommendation made Friday by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices came after the panel “carefully considered the current state of the pandemic, the latest vaccine effectiveness data over time and review of safety data from people who have already received a COVID-19 primary vaccine series and booster.”

“Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays,” she said. “Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose.”

The CDC recommends that adults who got fully vaccinated using the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna get booster shots at least six months after receiving their second vaccine dose. Adults who were vaccinated using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended to get boosters two months after initial vaccination.

Update 6:05 p.m. EST Nov. 19: Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, endorsed a recommendation made Friday by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to open up COVID-19 booster shot eligibility to all Americans, The Associated Press reported.

The recommendation also stressed that people aged 50 and older should be urged to get booster shots, according to the AP.

The endorsement makes booster shots available to millions of Americans. Previously, booster shots were only available to people aged 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and otherwise vulnerable Americans beginning six months after they’ve been fully vaccinated.

Update 3:23 p.m. EST Nov. 19: The advisory board approved the recommendation that anyone 18 years old and older who has received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine can get a booster dose at least six months after the primary series has been completed and if they have an individual risk or benefit.

It recommended that anyone over the age of 50 should get a booster shot.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky should quickly approve the policy, USA Today reported.

Original report: The pharmaceutical companies both announced that the Food and Drug Administration has given the approval to provide the shots to people who have already received their first two COVID-19 shots, The Associated Press reported.

Some areas didn’t wait for the FDA or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand the rules to who could get a booster shot as 10 states already started dispensing third shots, the AP reported.

Once the CDC approves the measure, anyone who is 18 and older who received their second shot at least 6 months ago, will be able to get the booster, no matter what brand they first got.

Final approval is expected to come later in the day, the AP reported.

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