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FDA Approves Pfizer COVID-19 Booster Shot, But Confusion Still Reigns Over Who Can Get It And When

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- On Wednesday night, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19.

The agency said that third vaccine dose will be allowed for certain people -- the elderly, and some others at high risk for the disease.

But as CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reported Thursday, the ruling has actually stirred confusion, even among some federal regulators.


If even state and federal health officials can't agree on booster guidelines, it's not surprising that the rest of us are confused. Pfizer asked the FDA for booster approval for ages 16 and older. The agency said not yet, too young. President Joe Biden said boosters after eight months, but the FDA said six months. A Centers for Disease Control committee is meeting Thursday to perhaps provide guidelines on boosters.

Here's what we know so far:

The FDA has approved Pfizer booster shots for people over age 65, at least six months after their second injection.

It also authorized those boosters for people at high risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 or at risk of serious complications from COVID due to frequent exposure to the virus at their jobs.

READ MOREJohnson & Johnson: 2nd Dose Of COVID Vaccine Offers Stronger Protection

But while the agency did not make it explicit, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said those high-risk individuals could include health care workers, teachers and day care staff, grocery workers, and those in homeless shelters or prisons, among others. That's a pretty broad authorization, especially if it includes those with chronic medical conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. If so, then millions more might be able to get a booster.

READ MORECBS2's Dr. Max Gomez Answers COVID Booster Questions

And that's even before the FDA considers the millions who got Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. That authorization is expected soon.

The bottom line is if you are fully vaccinated now, you will likely qualify for a booster within a few months. Until then, continue to mask up to protect yourself.

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