A panel of expert advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday voted in favor of booster shots for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness – but stopped short of recommending it them more broadly to those 16 and older.
ZIENTS: "We've been working through the last few weeks...to ensure that we are ready for next week."
The White House earlier on Friday said it was ready to roll out boosters of the Pfizer vaccine next week if health officials approved them.
But Friday's vote, if followed by the FDA, would represent a more modest rollout of booster shots than outlined by the Biden administration, which called for their widespread use six months after people received their first round of shots.
Many advisers were critical of the booster plan for those as young as 16, arguing that the data presented by Pfizer and the FDA is incomplete.
But they voted unanimously in favor of their use for older Americans, convinced by evidence showing that these individuals were at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and may be more likely to have waning immunity after the first rounds of shots.
The panel also recommended that the FDA include healthcare workers and others at high risk of occupational exposure to the virus that causes getting COVID on the job, such as teachers.
The FDA will take the panel's recommendations into consideration before making its final decision on boosters.