A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel on Friday unanimously approved recommending booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for all adults.
The CDC panel said anyone 18 or above can get a third shot, while recommending that Americans over the age of 50 should get one. A final decision by the agency is expected later Friday.
Earlier in the day, the Food and Drug Administration approved requests by Moderna and Pfizer to get booster shots into the arms of all adults nationwide.
The vaccine manufacturers announced the approvals on their websites early Friday — less than a week before Thanksgiving and ahead of increased travel and colder weather that will send millions of Americans into closer quarters.
“This emergency use authorization comes at a critical time as we enter the winter months and face increasing COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations across the country,” Moderna’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, said in a statement.
The FDA’s regulators approved Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters late last month for those at high risk from the virus and got their second shot more than six months earlier — or two months following J&J’s single-shot dose.
The agency also previously cleared the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot — which is the same dosage as the first jabs — for vulnerable populations in late September. The pharma giant cited a study of 10,000 people suggesting its booster could push protection against symptomatic infection to 96 percent.
Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, said the expanded approval represented another “critical milestone” in the two-year fight against the virus that has killed at least 764,473 Americans as of Friday, according to CDC data.
“With boosters, more adults now have the opportunity to help preserve a high level of protection against this disease,” Bourla said in a statement. “We are grateful to the FDA for their rigorous review, and the action taken today that we hope will help accelerate our path out of this pandemic.”
A growing number of cities and states — including California, Colorado and New York City — had already moved to allow all adults to get boosters six months after receiving a Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two months following a Johnson & Johnson single-dose jab.
The lone remaining hurdle to Friday’s FDA and CDC panel approval is an endorsement by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
If Walensky signs off as expected, millions more Americans could have three doses of protection by the end of the year. Those who got Johnson & Johnson’s shot can already get a third shot.
With Post wires