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US Recommends Additional Vaccine Shot for Americans Over 17

作者:Jonathan Evans 发布日期:9-25-2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new recommendations for additional coronavirus vaccine shots Friday.

The CDC recommended that almost all Americans above age 17 may get booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine made by drug companies Pfizer and BioNTech.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made the decision. She agreed with several recommendations from a group of advisers late Thursday.

The advisers said boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, those living in retirement centers and anyone aged 50 to 64 with serious health problems. The booster would be given at least six months after a person's last Pfizer shot. The advisers did not say if boosters are necessary for those who had received the Johnson and Johnson or the Moderna vaccines.

Walensky decided to make one recommendation that the group had rejected.

On Thursday, the group voted against recommending that people should get a booster if they are 64 years old or younger and work in health-care or have a job that puts them at risk of being exposed to the virus.

Walensky disagreed and made that recommendation. She included anyone living with a high risk of exposure, such as prisoners or people in homeless shelters.

The group had recommended booster shots for people ages 18 to 49 who have long-term health problems. But they did not recommend boosters for healthy health care workers or for those who are not at high risk.

The group voted nine to six to reject that idea. Walensky, however, decided to ignore the groups' decision and released a statement.

"As CDC Director, it is my job to recognize where our actions can have the greatest impact," the statement said. Walensky added, "In a pandemic, even with uncertainty, we must take actions that we anticipate will do the greatest good."

Experts say getting the unvaccinated their first shots remains the most important issue.

All three of the COVID-19 vaccines used in the U.S. protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death, even with the spread of the stronger delta variant. About 182 million Americans are fully vaccinated. That is 55 percent of the population.

"We can give boosters to people, but that's not really the answer to this pandemic," said Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University.

"Hospitals are full because people are not vaccinated. We are declining care to people who deserve care because we are full of unvaccinated COVID-positive patients."

The administration of President Joe Biden announced a plan last month to give booster shots to nearly everyone. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have recommended booster shots for smaller parts of the population.

During the meeting Thursday, Walensky said that vaccinating the unvaccinated remains the top goal "here in America and around the world."

Walensky said the research and information about who really needs a booster right away "are not perfect." But she added, "They are what we have in this moment."

The CDC advisers expressed concern over the millions of Americans who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots early in the vaccination effort.

The government has not considered boosters for vaccines made by those companies. It does not have information on whether it is safe or effective for people vaccinated with other vaccines to receive the Pfizer booster.

About 26 million Americans got their last Pfizer dose at least six months ago. About half of those people are 65 or older.

Public health experts not involved in Thursday's decision said it is unlikely people seeking a booster at a drugstore or other site will be required to prove they qualify.

Even with the introduction of boosters, someone who has received just the first two doses would still be considered fully vaccinated, according to the CDC's Dr. Kathleen Dooling.

For most people, if you're not in a group recommended for a booster, "it's really because we think you're well-protected," said Dr. Matthew Daley of Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

Words in This Story

booster shots n. an extra amount of a vaccine that give additional protection against a disease

impact –n. an effect; a result of some action

anticipate –n. to think of something that might happen in the future

variantn. something that is different in some way from others of the same kind

decline –v. to say no to someone

deserve –v. used to say that someone should or should not have or be given something

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