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Irene Michel, right, gives Santana Ruiz a COVID-19 vaccination in El Monte, California, on Nov. 17. Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky on Friday approved a CDC advisory panel's unanimous vote to recommend Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots for anyone 18 and older.

Why it matters: The move will drastically increase the number of people eligible to receive a booster, and fulfill President Biden's pledge to make boosters available to most adults in the U.S.

  • Walensky previously said the agency would "quickly review the safety and effectiveness data and make recommendations as soon as we hear from FDA."
  • The Food and Drug Administration earlier Friday endorsed booster shots for all adults.
  • The CDC panel also recommended that individuals 50 and older “should” receive the COVID-19 booster.

The big picture: More than 32 million adults in the U.S. have received a booster shot, according to the CDC.

  • Currently, the only Americans who are technically eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna boosters are people 65 and older or adults at high risk of severe infection. Several states, however, have expanded eligibility to anyone 18 and older.
  • Once endorsed by the CDC, Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients who are 18 years and older can receive a booster at least six months after their second dose.
  • Adults who have received the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine are already allowed to get a booster shot two months after their initial shot. The CDC has also authorized people to mix-and-match doses.

Go deeper... The new COVID war: Redefining vaccinated

Go deeper

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.