U.S. Regulators Approve COVID-19 Booster Shot For People Over Age 65

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Pfizer’s (NYSE:PFE) COVID-19 booster shot for people aged 65 and older, as well as other medically vulnerable people.

The FDA now recommends that elderly and vulnerable people get a COVID-19 booster shot six months after they complete their first two doses of a vaccination.

The FDA’s decision largely follows recommendations provided by its vaccine advisory committee. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously to give boosters to older people and those at a high risk of suffering from severe illness if they get the virus.

Though people 65 and older make up roughly 17% of the U.S. population, they are the most at risk of dying from COVID-19, accounting for more than 77% of all deaths from the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The FDA also included a broad definition of people from 18 to 64 "whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure" to the virus places them at a high risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.

That leaves enough room to potentially clear third doses for people in nursing homes, prisons, frontline healthcare employees and other essential workers who were among the first to get initial vaccines last December.

The administration of U.S President Joe Biden has said that it wants to begin offering booster shots to the general public as early as this week, pending authorization from U.S. health regulators.