CDC panel recommends Pfizer vaccine for ages 16 and older

The move comes one week after the FDA granted full approval to the vaccine.

Elad Benari ,

Pfizer vaccine
Pfizer vaccine
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash 90

An advisory panel to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday unanimously recommended the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older, Reuters reported.

The move comes one week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval to the vaccine that was previously available under the agency's emergency use authorization (EUA).

Health officials hope the formal approval and CDC recommendation will spur more Americans to get vaccinated. With full FDA approval, some companies and states have begun mandating COVID-19 vaccination.

Regulators have authorized a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for those with weak immune systems, and the US government has said it plans to make booster doses available to more Americans in September.

Pfizer said last week it would be seeking US approval of a booster dose of its two-shot COVID-19 vaccine and has started the application process for the third dose for everyone ages 16 and older.

The CDC advisers are considering an approach to boosters that would focus on preventing severe disease among those most at risk - residents in long-term care facilities, other older adults and healthcare workers - much like the original vaccine rollout.

CDC staff presented available data on the need for boosters and said, at this point it may be difficult to determine whether immunity from prior vaccination is waning over time or if the vaccines are just less able to prevent infection by the highly-transmissible Delta variant, according to the Reuters report.

Several panel members expressed concern about the White House announcement of a booster policy starting in September, even before the vaccine advisory panel had seen the evidence or determined that such a campaign was needed.