In a highly unusual decision, the C.D.C. director, Rochelle Walensky, reversed a move by agency advisers and endorsed additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for health care workers, teachers and other workers at risk.
By Apoorva Mandavilli and Benjamin Mueller
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday overruled a recommendation by an agency advisory panel that had refused to endorse booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine for frontline workers. It was a highly unusual move for the director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, but aligned C.D.C. policy with the Food and Drug Administration’s endorsements over her own agency’s advisers.
The C.D.C.’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Thursday recommended the boosters for a wide range of Americans, including tens of millions of older adults and younger people at high risk for the disease. But they excluded health care workers, teachers and others whose jobs put them at risk. That put their recommendations at odds with the F.D.A.’s authorization of booster shots for all adults with a high occupational risk.
Dr. Walensky’s decision was a boost for President Biden’s campaign to give a broad segment of Americans access to boosters. The White House had come under criticism for getting ahead of the regulatory process.
The White House could begin promoting and rolling out a plan for booster shots as soon as Friday. That would be in keeping with the administration’s previously announced plan to offer the additional doses this week.