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FDA advisory panel rejects widespread Pfizer booster shots

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WASHINGTON — A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Friday voted to reject COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for most Americans, but authorized them for people 65 and over and those who are at high risk for severe COVID-19.

The votes came amid division among scientists inside and outside the FDA as to whether booster shots are necessary for people who are not immunocompromised, and who should receive them.

The vote against boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for anyone 16 and older who had received two earlier shots was 16-2. The FDA doesn’t have to follow the committee’s recommendation, but it usually does.

Members of the committee expressed doubts about the safety of a booster dose in younger adults and teens, and complained about the lack of data about the safety and long term efficacy of a booster dose.

Biden administration officials had previously announced a plan to begin administering booster doses to the general population during the week of September 20, irritating some members of the committee. They later noted that any action would be pending signoff from the FDA and US Centers for Disease Control.


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