On Sept. 24, the CDC issued updated interim guidance allowing certain people at highest risk for COVID-19 to receive a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (now marketed as Comirnaty) booster shot. Specifically, the CDC endorsed the recommendation of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for booster shots. The CDC recommends the following individuals should receive a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series:
- Ages 65 and older
- Residents in long-term care settings
- Ages 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
In addition, according to the CDC recommendation, the following individuals may receive a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after their Pfizer primary series:
- Ages 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefits and risks
- Ages 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting
Prior to this CDC action, on Sept. 22 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series, for specified populations. The latest CDC guidance on the Pfizer booster vaccine aligns with the FDA’s amended EUA. To date, a COVID-19 booster vaccine is authorized only for the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA and CDC are expected to address possible boosters for the Moderna and J&J vaccines as soon as sufficient data are available.