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You don't necessarily need the FDA's permission to get a booster shot

5 15 20

There's a weird aspect to the ongoing debate about who the Food and Drug Administration should officially recommend get COVID booster shots. Substantial numbers of Americans are already getting boosters, even if they don't meet the narrow scope of the FDA's current recommendation. Some are getting them by lying; others, by going to medical providers who are using their discretion to go beyond the FDA guidance.

That's because the FDA guidelines on who should get extra vaccine shots are in this weird middle place. While the FDA on Wednesday authorized a supplemental shot of the Pfizer vaccine for a broader set of people including those 65 and older and for higher risk workers like those in healthcare, gaps in who should and can get an additional shot still abound.

Even with the broader Pfizer booster authorization there will be a large swath of vaccinated Americans — some with legitimate medical or workplace concerns — who will still not be officially eligible for the additional shot.

But that doesn't necessarily mean they can't or shouldn't get one.

Medical providers have discretion about whom to administer boosters to when, and some have already been using that discretion to provide booster shots to people with good reason to seek them, even if they're not covered by the official guidance.

In August, the San Francisco Department of Public Health announced that it was permitting recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to get a single dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) as a booster if they wanted one. The health department was careful to say it wasn't recommending the booster, just that it was providing it upon request.

An mRNA booster following a J&J shot wasn't recommended by the FDA at the time, nor is it likely to be recommended anytime soon. The FDA is now considering evidence........

© Business Insider

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