The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for those aged 65 and older and some high-risk Americans.
The FDA said that people over 65 who had received Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine would get a booster shot at least six months after their second injection. Individuals 18 and up who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 were also included in the authorization.
The FDA acting commissioner Janet Woodcock said the booster dose would help groups such as healthcare workers, teachers and daycare staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters or prisons.
"Today's action demonstrates that science and the currently available data continue to guide the FDA's decision-making for COVID-19 vaccines during this pandemic," said Woodcock in a statement.
"As we learn more about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, including the use of a booster dose, we will continue to evaluate the rapidly changing science and keep the public informed."
National Booster Campaign
The decision comes after the FDA authorized extra doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people who are severely immunocompromised, according to USA Today.
"We believe boosters have an important role to play in addressing the continued threat of this disease, alongside efforts to increase global access and uptake among the unvaccinated," said Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chairman and CEO.
President Joe Biden announced in August the government's intention to roll out booster shots for people aged 16 and older this week, pending approval by the FDA and CDC, reported Reuters.
Recently, an advisory group to the CDC opened a two-day meeting on the safety and effectiveness of Pfizer's booster shot. The advisers will vote Thursday on who would qualify for third shots, reported NBC News.
Wednesday's authoritarian made the US the most recent wealthy nation to offer people booster shots joining a list that includes Germany, France, Israel and the UK while much of the world remains unvaccinated.
President of the Philippines Slams Rich Countries' 'Selfish' Plan to Give Booster Shots
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has criticized the plan of rich countries to administer COVID-19 booster shots to its citizens despite the lack of supply in developing nations, reported CNN.
In his pre-recorded virtual address aired at the 76th United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Duterte said "there is a man-made drought of vaccines ravaging poor countries."
"Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines, while poor nations wait for trickles. They now talk of booster shots, while developing countries consider half-doses just to get by. This is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned for what it is â a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally," he added.