(Ted O’Neil) – The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup today released its findings recommending people who meet certain criteria receive a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
The announcement came in a press release from Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada make up the workgroup, which includes nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunizations and public health.
The workgroup suggested that fully-vaccinated people who received two Pfizer doses should receive a booster shot six months after their second shot if they are 65 or older, live in a long-term care facility or are between the ages of 50 and 64 with an underlying medical condition.
The recommendations also suggest those ages 18 to 50 with an underlying medical condition could receive a booster, as well as people at a high risk of COVID-19 exposure or transmission due to their occupational or institutional setting.
“Vaccines work and I am glad the Western States Group is taking this step in endorsing boosters for those who are most vulnerable,” Inslee said in the press release. “We need to protect Washingtonians most at risk for severe COVID illness. Providing boosters will help keep our residents safe and allow us to have an added layer of protection as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise in our state. Together, vaccinations will get us out of the COVID pandemic.”
The workgroup also strongly recommended that everyone ages 12 and older get vaccinated.
Currently, Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for use as a booster shot, although the workgroup implored the federal government to work with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to allow booster shots who have received those vaccines.
The issue of booster shots has been in the news quite a bit this week.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Pfizer booster shots for people 65 and older and also those who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
An independent group of medical advisers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 9-6 on Thursday against recommending booster shots for people at high risk because of their work setting.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, overruled the vote.
The panel did vote unanimously to recommend booster shots for people 65 and older and voted 13-2 in favor of booster shots for people ages 50 to 64 with underlying conditions.
Ted O’Neil | The Center Square contributor