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CDC Recommends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine For Booster Dose, Overrules ACIP

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As the delta variant spreads like wildfire across the country, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the booster dose of the Covid vaccine for adults at high risk of infection, older people, employees whose jobs expose them to the virus.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the booster dose as a measure to increase the safety of the population against the super-spreader variant that is being dubbed as the " pandemic of the unvaccinated". CDC Director, Rochelle Walensky, authorized the vaccine made by Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech for the shots.

CDC advisory panel Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the third shot for people who will be affected severely by the virus and the older generation but did not include the workers of different institutions who continuously get exposed to the threat of contracting the virus, contrary to FDA's recommendation. Walensky seemingly overruled the recommendation of the ACIP and endorsed the FDA in the decision.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an infectious disease expert at Stanford and the American Academy of Pediatrics liaison to the ACIP said, "I am surprised that Dr. Walensky overturned one of the four A.C.I.P. votes today, and I believe others will be as well...This addresses not only waning immunity but those at high risk of exposure."

ACIP Executive secretary, Dr. Amanda Cohn, announced the news to the advisors that the CDC will break from the recommendation. She said to the panelists, "Dr. Walensky is reversing the decision to not recommend the use of a booster dose in persons at high risk for occupational or institutional exposure. I am hoping to share this news with you before you see it in the press."

The announcement said that people above 65 and people between 50 to 64 with underlying medical conditions "should" take the booster dose six months after the completion of their primary vaccination while the rest of the population "may receive a booster shot."

Walensky added, "Today, ACIP only reviewed data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. We will address, with the same sense of urgency, recommendations for the Moderna and J&J vaccines as soon as those data are available."

Promptly after the announcement, Walmart (WMT) announced that the booster dose will be available for eligible individuals in 5100 Walmart stores across the country. Dr. John Wigneswaran, Walmart's Chief Medical Officer, said "Our commitment remains unwavering to meeting the health care needs of our communities in ways that are affordable and accessible to all, and we are proud to play an important role in administering vaccines, third doses and now booster shots." The retail chain also acts as a partner with multiple long-term care facilities which will soon receive the booster shots to be administered.

Walgreens also said Friday that eligible individuals can now receive Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccinations in stores nationwide. The company is offering a $5 Walgreens Cash reward, when customer spend $20, after each vaccine received in store to individuals who have a registered myWalgreens account.

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