CDC Director Rochelle Walensky today endorsed Pfizer booster shots for those who were vaccinated at least six months ago aged 65 and older, with underlying medical conditions, or at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting—the latter group includes teachers and school staff.
A CDC advisory committee had voted 9-6 against recommending the booster to groups outside the 65 and older demographic; however, Walensky instead aligned her endorsement with an FDA committee’s recommendation earlier this week.
“As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact,” she said. “At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health. In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good.”
During a press briefing on Thursday, Governor Lamont said Connecticut vaccine providers have been preparing and are ready to roll out boosters to those who are eligible starting today.
You can find a vaccine provider near you and schedule an appointment at ct.gov/covidvaccine.
The governor said that frontline workers and people with high-risk underlying conditions will not be required to provide proof of their status. Officials said that, because of the sudden demand, it could take a week until all who are eligible are able to receive a booster shot.
In remarks hours after the CDC director’s endorsement President Biden urged those in eligible categories to get a booster to strengthen their protection as the delta variant continues to circulate.
“My message today is this: If you’ve got the Pfizer vaccine, you got the Pfizer vaccine in January, February, March of this year, and you’re over 65 years of age, go get the booster,” Biden said. “Or, if you have a medical condition like diabetes, or you’re a frontline worker like a health care worker or a teacher, you can get a free booster.”
Booster shots are not yet approved for those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines; however, Dr. Fauci said recently that he anticipates those companies will have data on booster shots for their vaccines to the FDA in a few weeks.
During Lamont’s press briefing yesterday officials said that a vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 could be available by Halloween and that the state is taking steps to prepare for that possibility. They said DPH is working to enroll pediatricians in the state’s immunization program so that children can be vaccinated in settings that are comfortable to them.