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US FDA approves Pfizer, Moderna vaccine boosters for all adults

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must now agree to make the boosters available for everyone over 18.

United States regulators have approved COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, leaving just one regulatory hurdle before extra jab can be administered across the country.

Pfizer and Moderna announced on Friday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had made the approval, which expands previous a previous approval for elderly adults and those at high risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now must agree to expand Pfizer and Moderna boosters to even healthy young adults. Its scientific advisers were set to debate later on Friday.

The FDA decision comes as at least 10 states already had started offering boosters to all adults.

If the CDC signs off, it will greatly simplify what had been a confusing list of eligibility for the boosters. It would allow anyone 18 or older to choose either company’s booster six months after their last vaccine dose.

The regulatory agencies had previously approved so-called “mix-and-match” vaccine doses.

The administration of President Joe Biden hopes to make boosters widely available before the holiday season and the gathering and travel that accompany it.

About 70 percent of US adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 59 percent are fully vaccinated.

The Biden administration, and several states and major cities, have moved to require vaccinations for public employees, at times leading to standoffs with influential labour unions.

Biden has also sought to require companies with more than 100 employees to require vaccinations under a Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule, although a federal judge blocked the move last week.

Meanwhile, the government began a nationwide drive to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11 on November 8.

The White House’s coronavirus coordinator said on Wednesday that 10 percent of eligible children had received their first dose.

More than 768,000 people in the US have died from the coronavirus according to the Johns Hopkins University and while relatively low, cases have seen a gradual uptick as the US enters its colder months.

Source

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Al Jazeera and news agencies

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