Capitol Correspondence - 09.21.21

FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee Votes to Approve Booster for Certain Populations; Refrains from Approving Boosters for All Adults

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This past Friday, the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met to debate and vote on Pfizer and BioNTech’s application to offer booster shots to all adults 16 and older. The VRBPAC’s vote is non-binding, but the FDA generally defers to the VRBPAC’s recommendations.

The panel voted 16-2 against broad use of the booster, but it unanimously approved the booster for more limited use by certain populations, including people 65 and older and those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infections. The panel also took an unofficial poll and unanimously supported the authorization of a booster dose for health care workers, teachers and others at high risk of occupational COVID-19 exposure.

The VRBPAC’s recommendations now go to the FDA to decide whether to issue an emergency use authorization for the booster doses.