CDC chief cancels agency panel, approves Pfizer boosters for frontline workers
The CDC panel’s advice followed weeks of internal disagreement and public debate between health officials and U.S. advisers. In mid-August, President Biden announced plans for a booster deployment, but scientists and regulators were quick to point out that there was little research on who could benefit and how the doses should be distributed.
Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said on Wednesday that the agency’s authorization would allow booster doses “in certain populations such as health workers, teachers and child care workers, grocers and consumers. people living in homeless shelters or prisons, among others “.
But some committee members said there was little evidence to suggest that vaccinated teachers, and even healthcare workers, were at risk of repeated exposure to the virus. The decision reflected fears that such a broad recommendation effectively opens the doors to a recall campaign for all adults.
“I felt like the committee felt like it was some kind of hole you could drive a truck into,” Dr. Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the University of Pennsylvania, told reporters. FDA Vaccine Advisory Group. online briefing Thursday.
Over the two days, the panel wrestled with public expectations regarding Covid vaccines, the safety of third doses, and how a booster program would affect nursing home residents. Booster doses alone would not reverse the pandemic, some scientists noted: only vaccination of unvaccinated people would.
“We can move the needle a bit by giving people a booster dose,” said Dr. Helen Talbot, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University. But, she added, “the hospitals are full because people are not vaccinated.”
Counselors have also struggled with a lack of clarity on the purpose of vaccines: should it be to prevent all infections, or to prevent serious illness and hospitalization?