Health officials have cleared the Pfizer vaccine booster for those at high risk of severe COVID-19 in efforts to ease the spread of the Delta variant.
The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it is permitting a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for people who got two doses already and are older than 65 or are at risk of severe disease and death, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Individuals 18 and older who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 are also included in the booster authorization.
Additionally, those working high-risk jobs including “health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others” will be eligible.
Today, we amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least 6 months after completion of the vaccine’s primary series in certain populations. https://t.co/xF8h0kmF61 pic.twitter.com/3dsIhM9MoV
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) September 22, 2021
“We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and chief executive officer, said.
Indeed, eligible individuals should receive the booster six months after their second dose.
“This pandemic is dynamic and evolving, with new data about vaccine safety and effectiveness becoming available every day,” FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said. “As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed.”
The booster shots should be available in the coming days, according to authorities, but will also depend on a vote by a panel of experts advising the CDC on who exactly should receive them.