U.S. CDC advisers could vote on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster on Thursday

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel could vote on the use of a third shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, an agency official said while kicking off the two-day panel discussion on Wednesday.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is meeting between Sept. 22 to 23 to discuss which Americans should get the third vaccine shot, should it be authorized for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pfizer has asked the FDA to approve the third shot for all people aged 16 and over, but a panel of outside advisors to the FDA last Friday said there was only evidence for a shot being needed by people aged 65 and older.

That panel voted 16-2 to reject boosters for almost everyone. Members cited a lack of safety data on extra doses and also raised doubts about the value of mass boosters, rather than ones targeted to specific groups.

Then, in an 18-0 vote, it endorsed extra shots for people 65 and older and those at risk of serious disease. Panel members also agreed that health workers and others who run a high risk of being exposed to the virus on the job should get boosters, too.

That would help salvage part of the White House’s campaign but would still be a huge step back from the far-reaching proposal to offer third shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to nearly all Americans eight months after they get their second dose.

The FDA has not yet said how it plans to proceed.

Here in Canada, the country’s national advisory body on vaccines recommends giving third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to certain immunocompromised individuals, but still hasn’t reached a decision on whether to provide additional shots to the broader population.

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