The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined the Food and Drug Administration on Friday to approve Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus booster shots for all adults.
While an expert CDC panel previously expressed concern about the lack of research on rare side effects in younger adults, on Friday advisers said the benefits outweigh the risks. Health officials said the blanket approval will simplify the process for Americans seeking boosters.
The panel also recommended that all adults older than 50 get a booster shot.
Do boosters work? Research suggests that vaccine immunity against mild and asymptomatic infection wanes after several months. Pfizer reported its booster was 95 percent effective at increasing antibody levels and preventing infection. Moderna has not submitted efficacy data because its clinical trial is ongoing.
Several countries have warned young men to avoid Moderna’s vaccine due to concerns that it might cause myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. CDC officials told their advisory panel that there is not enough data on boosters yet to study this side effect.
In a study presented on Friday, the CDC found 54 cases of heart inflammation following Pfizer or Moderna vaccination. Twelve of the cases are attributed to the vaccines, and 38 are under review.
Roughly 195 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.