UPDATE: FDA approves COVID vaccine boosters for older, high-risk Americans

This story has been updated.

WASHINGTON, D.C – A panel of experts said “yes” to Pfizer vaccine boosters for some Americans.

After declining to recommend the booster for all Americans age 16 and older, advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a modified question, recommending the booster for people 65 and older and for those at high risk.

Three COVID shots are now the recommendation for some Americans who’ve had the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccine advisers to the FDA voted Friday to approve a Pfizer booster shot for people 65 and older. The yes vote came after hours of debate and presentations and after a no vote for Americans 16 and older.

Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks said, “We strongly encourage all the different viewpoints to be voiced and discussed.”

Experts at the CDC highlighted how the Delta variant affects the rate of breakthrough infections and researchers from the UK and Israel presenting data about how giving boosters could lower the rate of breakthrough infections.

Dr. William Gruber, Senior Vice President of Vaccine Clinical Research and Development at Pfizer, said, “We’re seeing a robust immune response that equals or greatly exceeds the response that we’ve seen after the second dose.”

Pfizer and other researchers say their studies show people develop strong immunity after two doses of vaccine but that levels of antibodies start to drop after a few months. However, some experts are pushing back

Infectious Disease Specialist at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Dr. Michael Kurilla said, “It’s not clear that the data we’re seeing right now is applicable to the general population.”

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