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FDA authorizes COVID-19 booster shots for millions of Americans

Virus Outbreak
Posted at 7:59 PM, Sep 22, 2021

Millions of Americans are one step closer to getting a COVID-19 booster shot.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its emergency use authorization for a Pfizer booster shot Wednesday. It allows for people 65 years and older to get the vaccine.

The agency also says adults who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 can get the booster shot. In addition, adults who work in settings that put them at serious risk of COVID-19 are eligible for the vaccine.

"The FDA amended the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for a booster dose in certain populations such as health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D.

The booster should be administered at least 6 months after a person completed their first vaccine series, the FDA says.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is in the midst of a two-day meeting to provide guidance on the booster shot. Its official policy is expected as early as Thursday.

However, The New York Times reports that even if the CDC takes a different stance on boosters, health care providers can now follow the FDA's eligibility guidelines.

The booster is currently only available for the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA still needs to review data from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson before authorizing a booster shot from those companies.