Sep 22, 2021 - Health

FDA approves Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Pfizer vaccine.
Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people at high risk of severe COVID-19 and people 65 years and older.

Driving the news: The approval comes just days after an FDA advisory panel recommended boosters for the two groups but overwhelmingly voted against the third shots for younger Americans.

  • The approval also applies to people ages 18 to 64 "whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure" puts them at high risk for contracting the virus.

The big picture: The White House had hoped to begin administering boosters to many Pfizer recipients, including young Americans, this week.

  • Some health experts were frustrated that the administration announced its plan before the shots went through the regulatory process.
  • Several experts on the FDA advisory committee said last week that they hadn't seen enough data to justify boosters for the general population.

What's next: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will likely issue guidance on boosters after a key advisory panel votes on the third doses. That vote is expected on Thursday.

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