Saturday, November 20, 2021

CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots to All Adults



Earlier this week the FDA announced their recommendation to Expand Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters to all adults 18 and over, handing the matter over to the CDC's ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) and a final decision by the CDC director. 

With the data showing a dramatic decline in vaccine effectiveness against breakthrough infection after about 6 months, and the recent COVID waves reported in even heavily vaccinated European nations, there was little doubt as to the the outcome. 

Late yesterday the CDC released the following statement:

CDC Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Booster Shots to All Adults
Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 19, 2021
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Today, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) expanded recommendations for booster shots to include all adults ages 18 years and older who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine at least six months after their second dose.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization and CDC’s recommendation for use are critical next steps forward in our country’s booster program – a program which will help provide increased protection against COVID-19 disease and death.

CDC continues to encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families, loved ones and communities. We also strongly encourage those who were already eligible ­– older populations and individuals with underlying medical conditions ­– to get boosted before the holidays.

Anyone can find available vaccines near them at and can consult their health care provider or local pharmacist if they have questions about vaccines or boosters.

The following is attributable to Dr. Walensky:

“After critical scientific evaluation, today’s unanimous decision carefully considered the current state of the pandemic, the latest vaccine effectiveness data over time, and review of safety data from people who have already received a COVID-19 primary vaccine series and booster. Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays. Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose.”

I rolled up my sleeve yesterday for the Moderna booster, and while I'm under no illusions that this will be my last COVID shot, I'm hoping I'll be reasonably well protected through the winter and spring, at least against serious illness. 

Hopefully, between booster shots and repeated exposures to the virus, over time we'll all build enough immunity to SARS-CoV-2 as to render it to more of a flu-like threat. How long that will take is uncertain, as other pandemics have produced strong waves even years after the crisis was declared over (see Taking The Long View).  

Which is why - even though I'm `fully vaccinated' - I plan to continue to wear a face mask in public, and avoid crowds, until I see a substantial, and prolonged, reduction in the spread of COVID. And even after that happy day arrives, I'll be prepared to resume their use, if a severe flu or coronavirus season returns.