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CDC director recommends COVID-19 booster for younger at-risk workers, defying advisory panel

  • September 24, 2021


Dr. Siegel: COVID booster shot will ‘benefit’ people over age 60

Dr. Marc Siegel says preventing further spread of the coronavirus is important when a previous vaccine loses effectiveness.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky late Thursday endorsed the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine booster shot for younger at-risk workers, which is seen as a rare break from the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices panel.

The panel had recommended the booster for Americans 65 and older and for those over 50 with underlying medical conditions, but voted against the younger at-risk worker recommendation.

Walensky put it back in, saying it aligns with a Food and Drug Administration booster authorization from earlier this week.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. (Photographer: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images
(Photographer: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” Walensky said in a statement. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”

The younger at-risk group includes teachers and front-line medical workers.


The panel had offered the option of a booster for those ages 18 to 49 who have chronic health problems and want one. But the advisers refused to go further and open boosters to otherwise healthy front-line health care workers who aren’t at risk of severe illness but want to avoid even a mild infection.

The CDC and the panel did not immediately respond to after-hour emails from Fox News.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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