However, the advisers voted against recommending a booster dose for people whose jobs or situations put them at high risk of breakthrough infections.
Late on Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration had authorized giving boosters to people 65 and older and those at higher risk of severe disease and death, as well as people such as health care workers at higher risk of breakthrough infections because of their work.
Members of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met Thursday to decide who they should be recommended to.
The CDC advisers voted unanimously to recommend a single Pfizer/BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine booster to people 65 years or older and long-term care facility residents at least six months after they were fully vaccinated. The advisers also voted 13-2 to endorse giving booster doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to people ages 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.
But that was short of the FDA’s emergency use authorization, which OK’d giving boosters to anyone 18 and older at high risk of severe disease from breakthrough infections. ACIP instead limited its recommendation to people over 50 with such conditions after members expressed doubts about recommending boosters too broadly. So, staff added a third question that would allow a younger group to access boosters.
Members were less enthusiastic about this option. Vaccine advisers voted 9-6 Thursday to recommend younger adults, those ages 18 to 49, get a booster Covid-19 vaccine dose if they have underlying health conditions.
The vaccine advisers then voted against the question of allowing booster Covid-19 vaccines for people 18 to 64 whose jobs or situations put them at high risk of breakthrough infections. These might have included frontline workers, include healthcare workers, caregivers for frail or immunocompromised people, people in homeless shelters and people in correctional facilities, the CDC said.
Earlier in the day, a CDC analysis showed it was much more beneficial to give a booster dose to people 65 and older than to people in younger age groups.
After CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off on the ACIP recommendations, booster shots may be given immediately to those for whom they are recommended.