The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a plan to offer Pfizer booster shots to all Americans, but voted to recommend the shot for those who are 65 and older or at high risk.
On Friday (Sept. 17), the FDA voted 16-2, with members expressing their frustration that Pfizer provided little information about the safety of the extra dose. They also raised doubts that the booster would be beneficial to everyone instead of specific groups. The panel and FDA leaders took a second vote on Friday afternoon advising the extra dose for older Americans.
Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University questioned the value of the booster if it’s offered to everyone.
“I don’t think a booster dose is going to significantly contribute to controlling the pandemic,” he said. “And I think it’s important that the main message we transmit is that we’ve got to get everyone two doses.”
Last month, the FDA granted full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to increase vaccinations and create more mandates across the United States. The immunization is now fully approved to be used by people who are 16 and older. People who are between the ages of 12 and 15 years old can still receive the shot under emergency use.
Following the FDA’s approval, President Biden called for private companies to require their employees to become vaccinated. “If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader who has been waiting on full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that,” he said. “Require it.”
Delta Air Lines announced that employees who are not vaccinated will have to pay a higher health insurance premium than those who are. The extra $200 monthly fee will be in place to help cover the steep costs of those who may become hospitalized with the Coronavirus.