FDA authorizes COVID booster shots for all U.S. adults

By Luda Tang

WASHINGTON–The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized all individuals 18 and older to get a COVID-19 booster shot from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

The move simplifies eligibility. Until now, boosters from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were only eligible for certain groups, including people over age 65, people with underlying medical conditions, residents of long-term care facilities, and those in jobs that have high exposure to coronavirus cases.

The agency said the expansion was justified by currently available clinical trial data as well as real-world evidence. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C director, promised at the White House briefing on Wednesday that the agency would “quickly review the safety and effectiveness data and make recommendations as soon as we hear from F.D.A.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert, stated his position over the past month relentlessly for booster shots for all people over 18, alongside with most of President Biden’s other health advisors.

People who got the Pfizer or Moderna immunizations to start would be eligible for a booster six months after their second shot, the FDA said. People who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be eligible for a booster two months after their first shot. Also, health officials say it’s fine to mix and match booster shots, meaning if people originally get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, they can get a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot.