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Episodes FDA panel makes recommendations on COVID-19 booster shots

closeup of a medical person wearing gloves holding a COVID-19 vaccine syringe

FDA panel makes recommendations on COVID-19 booster shots
September 22, 2021

On Friday, Sept. 17, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) advisory panel rejected a proposal to give Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine boosters to the general public. But the panel recommend boosters for people aged 65 and older — and for other high-risk groups — six months after the initial vaccination series. That includes health care workers. The recommendation will go before the FDA for final approval. 

FDA approval is just one step in determining whether booster shots will be made available. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will refine the recommendations for booster shots and provide guidance to health care providers, pharmacies and other COVID-19 vaccine providers. ACIP has scheduled a meeting for Sept. 22-23.

 "It's a bit of a complicated path," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "But we're exercising caution before we proceed into boosters for everyone, and the reason for that is because we do our best to follow the science." The FDA panel requested more safety data on the use of boosters.

On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland discusses booster recommendations and other COVID-19 updates.