The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention early Friday morning opted for a broad endorsement of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, issuing interim guidance that recommends boosters for many vaccinated individuals, including those in high-risk occupational and institutional settings. The latter includes front-line health care workers, many of whom are nine months removed from their second COVID-19 vaccine dose.

CDC recommends boosters six months after a completed Pfizer vaccine regimen for:

  • people age 65 and older and residents in long-term care settings; 
  • people aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions;
  • people aged 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefit and risks; and 
  • people aged 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, based on their individual benefits and risks.

In a statement, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “The FDA and CDC’s recent booster shot policy decisions are important steps toward ending COVID-19. The FDA and CDC’s review further confirms the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, and underscores why hospitals and health systems have worked so hard to vaccinate their staff and communities. We encourage all of those for whom the booster shot is recommended to take it. And, we again strongly urge those who are not yet vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and their communities by receiving the vaccine as soon as possible.

“We welcome Dr. Walensky’s decision to recommend the booster shot for frontline health care workers, which aligns with the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for booster shots that includes health care workers and others whose occupations increase their risk of exposure to COVID-19. Health care workers were among the first to receive the vaccines, and many workers are now nine months out from their initial vaccine series. At a time when hospitals across the country are experiencing ongoing surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations and severe workforce shortages, all available tools — including booster shots —  should be considered to keep frontline health care workers safe and safeguard access to care.”

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