COVID-19 vaccine: CDC panel backs expanded booster rollout

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FILE – In this Jan. 21, 2021, file photo, a medical staff member prepares the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Tudor Ranch in Mecca, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions more Americans are closer to getting a COVID-19 booster as influential government advisers on Thursday endorsed extra doses of all three of the nation’s vaccines — and said people could choose a different company’s brand for that next shot.

Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say certain Moderna and Johnson & Johnson recipients should qualify, too.

Those Pfizer boosters were recommended for everyone 65 and older, nursing home residents, and younger adults at increased risk of infection because of health problems, jobs or living conditions. That includes health care workers, teachers and people in jails or homeless shelters.

And in a bigger change, the panel opened the option of “mixing and matching” that would allow a different vaccine for the extra dose than the kind people first received.

The Food and Drug Administration had already authorized such an expansion of the nation’s booster campaign on Wednesday, but the CDC, guided by its advisory panel, has the final word on who should roll up their sleeves.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is expected to rule soon.

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