- On Friday, President Joe Biden said 60 million Americans have become eligible to receive booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine
- But there is confusion about who qualifies, especially after the CDC director dismissed a panel for recommending boosters for a broader group.
- Questions are also swirling why the booster was approved only for the Pfizer vaccine, not Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
- DailyMail.com has provided a breakdown of who is eligible for boosters, when they can get them, and what was behind the conflict between the CDC and the FDA.
This week, millions of Americans became eligible to receive a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.
At a press briefing on Friday, President Joe Biden revealed that at least 60 million people could start receiving a third dose – but told people outside eligible groups to ‘wait their turn.’
But there is some confusion about what Biden was talking about, especially after the Director of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Valensky dismissed her agency’s advisory panel for recommending boosters for a broader group.
As this new phase of vaccination rollout begins, DailyMail.com breaks down who is eligible to receive boosters, where they can get them and why the CDC advisory was with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). .
On Friday, President Joe Biden announced at a press briefing (above) that 60 million Americans have become eligible to receive booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine
What are COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters?
People are given a booster shot at least six months after they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
This is to prolong immunity and ‘boost’ the immune system to produce higher levels of antibodies against the virus.
Which COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Can I Get?
Right now, only people who have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioEntech vaccine, and were given their last shot at least six months ago, can get a booster shot.
That’s because the FDA has only reviewed Pfizer’s data so far.
Pfizer’s booster shot is exactly the same — ingredient-wise and dosage (30 micrograms) — as the first two doses.
WHO needed Get Booster Shots?
Last month, boosters were authorized for Americans with compromised immune systems. This week, that authorization was expanded to specific at-risk groups.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended Thursday that people in any of these groups should receive a third dose:
- people aged 65 and over
- long term care facility resident
- People aged 50 to 64 are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions
DailyMail.com has provided a breakdown of who is eligible for boosters, when they can get them, and why a CDC panel initially rejected boosters for specific groups. Image: An elderly woman receives a COVID-19 Pfizer booster on 24 September
Who can Consider Getting Boosters?
Two more groups were qualified by the CDC, but were withheld from giving a full recommendation, saying they might consider boosters:
- People aged 18 to 64 years with underlying health conditions, depending on individual benefits and risks
- People aged 18 to 64 are at higher risk because of their jobs, such as health workers, teachers and grocery store workers –
- 18 to 64 years of age who are in homeless shelters or prisons
But didn’t the CDC’s advisory panel recommend against boosters for people at high risk because of their jobs?
ACIP voted 8-7 against recommending use for people at risk due to an ‘occupational or institutional setting’ after the FDA authorized a third dose for this group.
During their meeting on Thursday, some members said the FDA made this authorization based on limited data and that there was not enough evidence to prove that people in these groups needed a third dose.
Others were concerned that approving the booster on the basis of employment would lead to overly widespread use.
But, in a surprise move, Valensky reversed the decision on Thursday night, saying that giving boosters to healthcare workers and others ‘Will best meet the country’s public health needs.’
“In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take the action that we hope will work best,” she said in a statement.
Biden agreed with the move because it is in line with his own administration’s plan to eventually give boosters to all Americans.
Where can I get a booster shot?
During a press briefing on Friday, Biden said booster shots would be available in 80,000 locations across the US
This includes over 40,000 pharmacies as well as health departments, hospitals and clinics.
You will likely be required to show your vaccine card and prove that you belong to an eligible group, rather than providing proof that will be on an honor system.
Under the FDA’s emergency use authorization, boosters are free.
Are booster shots approved because protection from vaccines is waning?
Recently, some studies have suggested that immunity may decrease over time in certain groups of people – and some vaccines.
The booster was approved after several reports, including a CDC study, showed the Moderna jab was 96.3% effective against symptomatic disease, while the Pfizer shot was 88.9% effective—and the Moderna jab was even more effective after a single dose.
Some people have weakened immune systems, either due to medical conditions or age, which have left them unable to mount a full immune response for the first two doses.
Additionally, recent studies have found that vaccine protection decreases after more than four months.
this week, a Study The CDC led comparison of 5,000 healthcare workers in 25 states who received either the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna Vaccine.
After two doses, the Modern jab was 96.3 percent effective against symptomatic disease while the Pfizer shot was 88.9 percent effective.
What’s more, a CDC report released last week found that Moderna Vaccine was 93 percent effective…