CDC Director goes beyond CDC Advisory Panel recommendations on boosters

Booster shots have now been recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Panel which issued its statement late yesterday. CDC’s Director, Dr. Walensky, went beyond the panel’s recommendations to broaden recommendations to groups that were originally to be considered.

The advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the ACIP – made its recommendations late yesterday to approve booster shots – or a 3rd, extra dose, for people 65 and older, nursing home residents, and people who are 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions. It also said boosters can be offered to people 18 to 49 with underlying conditions. Their recommendation applies at this time to only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The shots should be given at least six months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

People 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot “based on individual benefit and risk,” the panel said.

The disagreement with Dr. Walensky came when the panel voted down a measure recommending adults 18 to 64 who work in or are in settings that put them at high risk of exposure receive booster shots “based on individual benefit and risk” and boosters for those ages 18 to 49 who have chronic health problems and want one.

Walensky said this group is to be included, and her statement is said to be an “overrule” of their limited decision.

The panel did not vote on the issue of mixing boosters – for example, if a person who initially received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine could receive a Pfizer booster shot. Mixing boosters is done in Europe and other locations.

The CDC says it will be reviewing data in the coming weeks and will make recommendations about those who got the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Dr. Walensky said providing booster shots to health care workers and others who risk contracting the disease on the job would “best serve the nation’s public health needs.” But the overruling further confuses the public about medical advisors being on the same page about COVID19

Nursing homes are preparing across the country for an effort to deliver the 3rd shot to patients.

Approximately 130,000 Rhode Islanders will be eligible for the booster – statewide clinics will be scheduled and pharmacies say they are prepared to deliver them.

CVS has a notice up on their website that they are awaiting official guidance from the CDC.

The RI Department of Health is also awaiting the official statement.

Dr. Walensky’s statement is not yet printed on the CDC website.

This is a developing story – and will be updated throughout the day – check back for the latest information and when appointments can be made for booster shots.

UPDATE: The RI Dept. of Health has now issued its guidelines and both the state and independent vaccination sites such as CVS are open for appointment making to begin.

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