In a landmark decision on Thursday, an important scientific panel recommended booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for a broad spectrum of Americans, including tens of millions of elderly people. The recommendation marks a significant step forward in the fight against the coronavirus. However, the experts did not recommend larger doses for health-care workers, teachers, and other professionals who may be exposed to higher levels of radiation on the job.
Scientists struggled over their options before the judgments were made by a group appointed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. A review of the suggestions showed significant disagreements among federal authorities and outside advisors about how to control the virus almost two years after the outbreak began.
Only a day before, the Food and Drug Administration approved booster injections for some frontline employees under specific conditions. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisors were of the opinion that the dosages were required by such a large number of healthy individuals.
Doctor Rochelle Walensky, head of the Center for Disease Control, will make a formal recommendation as the next step. It is possible that the advice provided by the agency’s advisory group will clash with that provided by the Food and Drug Administration if she adopts its recommendations.
According to a senior administration official, Xavier Becerra, the secretary of health and human services, may be forced to act as a mediator between the two departments in the end.
Regardless of scientific concerns, millions of people are likely to seek out booster injections in the coming months. According to a recent survey, almost three-quarters of Americans who have had a vaccination indicated they would choose for a booster shot if the doses were available.
State health agencies usually adhere to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even before the Food and Drug Administration gave the go-ahead, many Americans were rushing for booster shots, either by securing them from a friendly pharmacy or by pretending to be unvaccinated.