CDC director endorsed Pfizer booster shots for older Americans, people with underlying conditions, and those with higher risk on the job, partially breaking from advisory panel

Late Thursday, the CDC recommended booster shots for Americans aged 65 or older and at-risk populations.
Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC, partially broke with this advisory panel and endorsed shots for people at greater risk because of their jobs.

This could include teachers, healthcare workers, and employees at grocery stores, among other things.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended booster shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for selected groups late Thursday night. This means that the jabs will be administered immediately.

The CDC endorsed shots for Americans aged 65 and over, residents in nursing homes, and those with underlying conditions, 18-64, as per the recommendations of a CDC advisory panel.

However, Director Rochelle Walensky was partially absent from the panel and endorsed the booster shots for those who are more likely to contract COVID-19 at work or due to their location. This could include teachers, healthcare workers, and grocery store employees. It also includes people who are homeless or in prison.

After the panel had voted 9-6 against boosters, Walensky overruled their decision.

According to The Associated Press, Walensky stated that "As CDC Director it is my responsibility to recognize where our actions have the greatest impact." "At CDC we are tasked to analyze complex, often imperfect data in order to make concrete recommendations that optimize healthcare. We must act in a situation like a pandemic. Even with uncertainty, this is what we do best.

Walensky pointed out that her recommendation was in line with the Food and Drug Administration's Wednesday recommendation that COVID-19-affected adults be eligible for the shot.

In a split decision, the FDA's CDC advisory panel of independent medical professionals disagreed with that recommendation by the CDC advisory panel. The panel expressed concern that the move could send mixed signals about vaccines, which are extremely effective in preventing severe illnesses.

Walensky stated that Thursday's primary goal is to give unvaccinated Americans the first shot. The CDC reports that 55% of Americans are fully vaccinated as of Thursday. 64% have received at least one dose.