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CDC recommends Pfizer booster doses for at-risk populations

Vaccine Mississippi

Following the lead of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for certain at-risk populations. 

Similar to the FDA, the CDC’s recommendation does not include the general public. It does include those 65-years and older as well as those between the ages of 18-64 with certain underlying medical conditions. The Mississippi State Department of Health currently lists such conditions as “cancer treatment, organ transplant, stem cell transplant, having a disease such as HIV which affects the immune system, or taking medication such as high-dose steroids.”

The CDC did add a third subgroup to their recommendations—those in “high risk occupational and institutional settings.” For each group, the boosters are recommended to be given at least 6 months after an individual’s primary vaccination series. 

“I believe we can best serve the nation’s public health needs by providing booster doses for the elderly, those in long-term care facilities, people with underlying medical conditions, and for adults at high risk of disease from occupational and institutional exposures to COVID-19. This aligns with the FDA’s booster authorization and makes these groups eligible for a booster shot. Today, ACIP only reviewed data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. We will address, with the same sense of urgency, recommendations for the Moderna and J&J vaccines as soon as those data are available,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said. 

The agency says that the booster will help strengthen protection against severe disease in those populations who are at high-risk for exposure to COVID-19 or the complications from severe disease as the Delta variant continues to spread. 

The full recommendations from the CDC can be seen below: 

  • People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series,
  • People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks, and
  • People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their individual benefits and risks.

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