CDC panel to discuss expanding COVID booster shots Friday

FILE – Nurse Mary Ezzat prepares to administer a Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot to Jessica M., Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, at UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. Jessica M. is a healthcare worker who is also immunocompromised. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have taken steps to expand the use of booster shots to quell the recent surge in COVID-19 infections. (Jeff Gritchen/The Orange County Register via AP)

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December 25 2021 12:00 am

NEW YORK (AP) — An influential U.S. advisory panel will discuss expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults Friday, a move that could make the shots available as early as this weekend.

The panel advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in setting vaccination recommendations for U.S. doctors and the general public.

Some cities and states already allow all adults to get boosters of Pfizer’s vaccine, but it is not yet official U.S. policy.

Last week, Pfizer asked U.S. regulators to allow boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 18 or older. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to sign off on Pfizer’s application before the advisory panel meets Friday. The final step — CDC’s official recommendation — could come soon after the meeting.

The move would greatly expand who is eligible. Boosters are now recommended for people who initially received their second Pfizer or Moderna shots at least six months ago if they’re 65 or older or are at high risk of COVID-19 because of health problems or their job or living conditions. Boosters are also recommended for people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Perrone contributed to this story from Washington.

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The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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