On September 23, 2021, a panel of experts from the CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (“ACIP”), recommended that three categories of people should receive a COVID-19 booster shot: (1) those aged 65 and older; (2) those in long-term care residencies; and (3) those over 18 with underlying medical conditions. ACIP members voted unanimously for the first two categories of people who should receive booster vaccines. The panel was more divided with regard to the third category, however, with only nine of the fifteen members voting in favor of booster shots for individuals over 18 who are more at risk of severe reactions to COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions.
This recommendation from the ACIP came just one day after the FDA approved Pfizer’s EUA application for administering booster shots for individuals in similar categories. The CDC’s website states that COVID-19 booster vaccines will not be immediately available and that individuals are only eligible to receive a booster shot eight months after receiving the last series of the vaccine. ACIP’s recommendations are just that—recommendations; CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky must choose whether to adopt or overrule the recommendation, which she has not done at this time.
Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers will continue to provide relevant updates for healthcare providers on the Health Law Pulse during the COVID-19 public health crisis.