FDA vaccine advisory committee rejected Biden administration’s Covid-19 booster shots program on Friday. The panel however, agreed on distributing the booster shots to those with risk of severe illness and people aged 65 and above. The committee of experts voted against giving a third shot to recipients aged 16 and above. The Biden administration was planning to roll out booster shot programmes to the general population starting from next week.
The advisory panel of outside experts shared concerns about the lack of evidence that shows the boosters are safe for young people. Such arguments led to discussions among the committee members about the appropriate age groups to receive booster shots. After the initial vote, the panel proposed an alternative scheme to administer the booster shots to individuals at high risk of COVID-19 and people aged 65 and above.
The Friday’s vote was focused on Pfizer vaccine and is only applicable to those who took Pfizer vaccine shots. The other two vaccines, Moderna and Johnson&Johnson were excluded from the discussions. Representatives from Pfizer said that the booster shots were advised after analysing data from Israel, where 60% of the population was fully vaccinated and yet there was a tenfold increase in severe cases from July to August. The discussions about the booster shots will be continued by other advisory groups of CDC.