A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel on Friday voted unanimously to recommend COVID-19 booster shots for the most vulnerable Americans.
All 11 members of the federal agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved the agency recommending “an additional dose” of Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines for those with compromised immune systems.
The advice would apply to all those age 12 and over who are “moderately or severely” immunocompromised, including people who have had solid organ transplants.
The group concluded that “the desirable consequences clearly outweighed the undesirable consequences,” especially with the devastation caused by the Delta variant.
The highly contagious strain now accounts for almost 95 percent of new infections in the US, according to CDC data.
Vaccination provides strong protection against the Delta variant, with CDC figures showing there’s only a minuscule risk of vaccinated Americans becoming severely sick with breakthrough cases.
The vote followed the Food and Drug Administration’s decision Thursday to approve the use of the booster shots.
The CDC also acknowledged Friday that more than 1 million Americans had already received extra doses even before the move was authorized.
About 1.1 million people had already had a third shot of the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, while about 90,000 people got a second dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson jab.
It was not immediately clear how they had gotten the unapproved doses, or whether they were all people who are immunocompromised.
The recommendation will now go before CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky for final approval.
With Post wires