Nov. 19, 2021 — The FDA has given the green light to third, or booster doses, of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for everyone over the age of 18, ahead of the busy winter holiday season.

“…Authorizing the use of a single booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 of age and older helps to provide continued protection against COVID-19, including the serious consequences that can occur, such as hospitalization and death,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, in a statement.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, will meet this afternoon to review the science supporting a more widespread need for booster doses, and is expected to vote on official recommendations for their use in the U.S. The CDC director must then sign off on the panel’s recommendations. 

“As soon as the FDA reviews those data and provides an authorization, we at CDC will act swiftly,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said at a recent White House briefing.

Several states — including Louisiana, Maine, and Colorado — have already authorized boosters for all adults as cases rise in Europe and across the western and northeastern regions of the United States.

FDA officials said they hoped that widening eligibility for boosters would cut down on confusion for people and hopefully speed uptake of the shots.

“Streamlining the eligibility criteria and making booster doses available to all individuals 18 years of age and older will also help to eliminate confusion about who may receive a booster dose and ensure booster doses are available to all who may need one,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, who heads the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

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