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Covid-19 boosters: 5 takeaways from CDC's big vaccine meeting

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Data reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee on Wednesday suggests benefits to giving Covid-19 boosters to elderly Americans and long-term care home residents — potentially setting up the independent panel to endorse a third dose of Pfizer and BioNTech's shot for those groups.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon decide whether to authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech booster and for whom. The agency's own outside advisory committee on Friday recommended allowing a third dose of the companies' shot for people 65 and older and those at high risk of severe disease. In doing so they bucked the Biden administration's plans for a broad booster rollout this month.

The CDC panel's role begins once the FDA authorizes the booster dose. The CDC's vaccine advisers will refine exactly who is eligible — in this case, that will likely involve defining "high risk." Those discussions are set to culminate on Thursday afternoon, but only if FDA authorizes the shot by that morning.

Here are five key takeaways from the first day of the CDC vaccine meeting.

The goals of vaccination might be changing

Data from the large clinical trials used to authorize Covid-19 vaccines in the United States suggested they offered strong protection against even mild infection, raising hopes that the shots would confer so-called sterilizing immunity — preventing vaccinated people from spreading the virus.

But over time, scientists have realized that the vaccines' ability to ward off mild infection is waning, although protection against severe disease and death remains strong overall.

CDC panel member Sarah Long, a pediatrics professor at Drexel University's College of Medicine, urged her colleagues to........

© Politico

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