In line with the recommendations made by the scientist-based CDC advisory panel (ACIP) earlier on Thursday, the CDC endorsed COVID vaccine booster shots for Americans 65 and older, residents of nursing homes, and adults aged 18 to 64 with underlying health conditions.
But that didn't go far enough apparently for the far more politically-controlled CDC itself as late last night CDC director Rochelle Walensky went beyond ACIP’s recommendation by urging boosters for individuals allegedly at high risk because of their jobs- which was left entirely undefined (we look forward to the union in-fighting over which jobs are 'at-risk').
Notably, the CDC advisory panel, made up of independent medical experts, broke with the FDA on that recommendation in a split decision on Thursday.
But, hours after the panel voted 9-6 not to recommend boosters for those groups, Walensky overruled them.
"As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact," Walensky said in a statement late Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
"At CDC, we are tasked with analyzing complex, often imperfect data to make concrete recommendations that optimize health."
Walensky noted her recommendation aligned with the Food and Drug Administration, which recommended on Wednesday that adults "in an occupational or institutional setting" that increases their risk of getting COVID-19 also be eligible for the shot.
“In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good,” she said in a statement.
Of course, given the undefined nature of 'high risk' employment, this action by Walensky opens the door - just as ACIP warned - for everyone to argue they deserve a 3rd (4th or 5th...) booster shot and further kicks the door open to enabling the 'annual COVID shot' that big phrama CEOS (most recently Moderna's CEO) have suggested.
In keeping with their more cautious approach toward approving COVID jabs, EU regulators are preparing to make their own decisions about whether to approve booster shots with Pfizer jabs - but not until early October, Reuters reported Thursday.
Reuters pointed out that the upcoming review of the Pfizer booster jab would mark the European regulators' first decision about doling out booster jabs in the EU.
In an opinion issued earlier this month that was republished by the EMA, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control - or ECDC, one of several regulators that comprises the EU's highest-level of health regulators - said there was no "urgent need" to administer booster doses to fully vaccinated individuals in the general population.
But it also noted that additional doses are already being considered and doled out to the elderly, the immuno-compromised, and whatever
Regardless of whatever the bloc decides, it has already signed recent deals with Pfizer and BioNTech for 2.4 billion more mRNA jabs.
The latest contract covers the supply of at least 900MM shots, which will only be needed if the EU goes ahead with expansive booster jab program and offers them to all adults 16 and up. . Over 70% of the EU's adult population has already been fully vaccinated, and the bloc has secured an ample supply of vaccines from several manufacturers.
Still, as the delta wave continues to create problems for politicians around the world, they might grow increasingly desperate to force the population to get 3, 4 or even 5 jabs - despite the fact that The ECDC has said crucial data on the need and safety of boosters hasn't yet been gleaned from the studies unfurling around the world rfhr n in part because it is not yet fully clear how long vaccines protect against the virus.
Coronavirus can now be categorised as one of several respiratory illnesses with seasonal variation, Geir Bukholm, assistant director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), has said.
For the past year and a half, Covid-19 has been classed as a generally dangerous disease. However, this could change soon as the assistant director of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Geir Bukholm, has said the coronavirus can now be put in the same category as illnesses such as flu, common colds and RS (respiratory syncytial virus).
“We are now in a new phase where we must look at the coronavirus as one of several respiratory diseases with seasonal variation,” Bukholm told paper VG.
Last week the Ministry of Health and Social Care asked the NIPH to assess whether Covid-19 was still a dangerous disease.
While the NIPH has yet to return its findings, its assistant director has made it clear that the danger of Covid will be downgraded.
Covid could now be compared in severity with the likes of colds and flu because the vast majority of those at most risk of developing severe disease when infected are now fully vaccinated.
“This is because the vast majority of those at risk are protected,” Bukholm explained.
“And although the infection is still circulating, hospital numbers remain low. Thus, the coronavirus will not lead to a heavy burden on the health service. For those vaccinated who may become infected and develop symptoms, the vast majority will have mild cold-like symptoms.”