CDC Director Rochelle Walensky overruled her own agency’s advisory panel in a rare move late Thursday and added a recommendation for boosters for people at risk because of their jobs.
Her decision came after the agency's panel said it should only be for Americans aged 65 and older and those with underlying conditions.
Walensky disagreed and put that recommendation back in, noting that such a move aligns with an FDA booster authorization decision earlier this week.
The category she included covers people who live in institutional settings that increase their risk of exposure, such as prisons or homeless shelters, as well as health care workers, teachers and grocery store employees.
The members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted unanimously to give the shot to people aged 65 and older and long-term care facility residents and 13-2 for Americans between ages 50 and 64 with underlying medical conditions.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky (pictured) reversed her own agency’s advisory panel in a rare move late Thursday and added a recommendation for boosters for people at risk because of their jobs, including teachers, grocery store employees, health care workers, as wells as staff working in prison and homeless shelters
Boosters were also recommended for those aged 18 to 49 with pre-existing conditions, but the vote was much closer with the recommendation passing 9-6.
However, the committee voted against recommended use for those are at risk due to an 'occupational or institutional setting' including healthcare workers, grocery store employees, teachers and grocery store staffers, as well as those in prisons or homeless shelters.
The vote comes less than 24 hours after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized third Pfizer doses for these groups.
Until the FDA announced its decision, ACIP was unable to recommend third doses, a necessary step before pharmacists or clinicians can immunize patients.
And it marks the first time that the ACIP has voted against an FDA authorization regarding COVID-19-related issues.
The CDC is not bound to follow the advisory group's recommendations, but the agency rarely goes against the guidance of ACIP.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on Thursday to recommend boosters for those aged 65 and older, long-term care facility residents and those at high risk of severe Covid due to underlying conditions. Pictured: A healthcare worker administers a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a senior living facility in Worcester, Pennsylvania, August 2021
The committee voted against recommending third doses for people at high risk due to their jobs or those in prisons or homeless shelters. Pictured: