The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday expanded emergency use authorization for the booster shot of the PFizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to all U.S. adults.
The decision was announced by the drug companies Friday and comes after at least 10 states already had expanded their booster programs to fight COVID-19 surges.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still has to authorize the expanded distribution of the booster doses before people can start receiving their third shot, and the CDC’s independent panel of vaccine experts is scheduled to meet Friday to review the new data.
During the White House COVID-19 response team meeting Wednesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the agency will quickly review the safety and effectiveness data and make recommendations as soon as the FDA makes its decision.
Walensky said the CDC has compiled evidence demonstrating boosters are working. Through its National Healthcare Safety Network, the agency has been studying new data from COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities.
She said when comparing cases of COVID-19 between those who are vaccinated with two doses and those who have received a third, booster dose, the rate of disease is markedly lower for those who received their booster shot.
With CDC approval, boosters could be available for all as early as Saturday.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.