WASHINGTON — After overwhelmingly rejecting a plan to give Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans, an influential federal advisory panel has approved the extra shots for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.
The twin votes Friday represented a blow to the Biden administration’s sweeping effort to shore up nearly all Americans’ protection amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. The decision was made by a committee of outside experts who advise the Food and Drug Administration.
The vote recommending the booster shots for older Americans and other high-risk groups helps salvage part of the White House’s campaign but is still a huge step back from the sweeping plan proposed by the administration a month ago to offer booster shots of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to nearly all Americans eight months after they get their second dose.
During several hours of vigorous debate Friday, members of the panel questioned the value of offering boosters to nearly everyone.