FDA authorizes COVID-19 booster shot, but only for some people

The US Food and Drug Administration has officially authorized the administration of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, but only for select people who are at a greater than typical risk of developing a severe infection. The authorization comes only days after the agency rejected plans to offer anyone who wanted one a booster shot.

The FDA announced its authorization of a COVID-19 booster shot on September 22, opening the door for people who are ages 65 or older to get an additional vaccination against SARS-CoV-2. Some other individuals are also eligible under this authorization, including anyone ages 18 to 64 who meets certain conditions.

To get the booster shot in the latter age group, you must be "at high risk of severe COVID-19" and/or you must be someone who faces frequent potential exposure to the virus at work or in an institutional setting. Likewise, this booster authorization is only available for the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19

If you meet the above criteria, you must have been fully vaccinated at least six months prior to the booster date. The decision to offer a booster shot to particularly vulnerable populations strikes a balance between protecting these individuals while also ensuring equitable access to the vaccine across the world.

WHO and select other officials heavily criticized the US's original plan to start administering booster shots to everyone in September, with the World Health Organization claiming that only a small percentage of promised vaccine doses have been sent from wealthy nations to ones that are still developing.