The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday endorsed booster shots for millions of older and high-risk Americans, opening a major new phase in the U.S vaccination drive against COVID-19.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday, hours after the advisers said boosters for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems. The extra dose would be given once they are at least six months past their last Pfizer shot.
But Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the panel had rejected.
The panel on Thursday voted against saying that people can get a booster if they are ages 18 to 64 years and are healthcare workers or have another job that puts them at increased risk of being exposed to the virus.
But Walensky disagreed and put that recommendation back in, noting that such a move aligns with an FDA booster authorization decision earlier this week.
People who have gotten two shots and decide not to get a third will still be considered fully vaccinated, the CDC said.
Also in the news:
►National Guard teams will be deployed Friday to Deaconess Midtown and Deaconess Gateway hospitals in Indiana for a week to support medical staff responding to COVID-19.
►A judge denied an injunction on Thursday that would force a Delaware hospital to use ivermectin, an anti-parasite drug, to treat a patient with COVID-19.
►More Iowans are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any point earlier in 2021, according to data released by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Wednesday.
►With more than a week of reporting to go, September is already this year's third-deadliest month for COVID-19 and the sixth-deadliest month for the entire pandemic, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
????Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 42 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 684,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 230 million cases and 4.7 million deaths. More than 182 million Americans - 55% of the population - have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
???? What we're reading: Booster shots to prevent COVID-19 infection will soon become a reality nearly 10 months after Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine was first authorized and rolled out to health care workers in the U.S. Here's who federal health officials say are eligible for the shots. Read more.