The following statement is attributable to:
Gerald E. Harmon, MD
President, American Medical Association

“We commend the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for their thoughtful deliberations and recommendations supporting a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, at least six months after the primary series, in individuals 65 years of age and older, long-term care facility residents, and in persons aged 50–64 with underlying medical conditions. The ACIP also recommended a booster dose based on individual risk-benefit analysis for those aged 18–49 with underlying medical conditions.

“The latest data shows a decline in vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection in individuals 65 years of age and older, particularly during the Delta wave. The good news is data also shows that a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, given six months after the primary series, increases the immune response in this population. Today's recommendation will help provide those individuals for whom the benefits of boosters outweigh the risks with further protection against COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“The scientific evidence is clear that the vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and remain effective in preventing hospitalization and severe disease. With hospitalization rates 10 to 22 times higher in the unvaccinated compared to the vaccinated, our top priority should remain reaching those individuals who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. We continue to strongly urge everyone who has not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 and is eligible, including pregnant people, to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones from severe complications, hospitalization, and death.

“Following the deliberations of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee and the action taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine boosters, ACIP’s recommendation will allow physicians and other vaccine providers to offer a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine to those patients who need it.

“The ACIP did not recommend booster doses for adults at risk of occupational or environmental exposure, such as health care personnel, teachers, and other essential workers. We await further reviews of the evidence on booster doses in this population, which we believe could help preserve our nation’s health care capacity so we can continue providing care to our patients. We also acknowledge that those who received the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are awaiting guidance on booster doses.

“Anyone with questions about the vaccines should speak with their physician and review trusted resources, including getvaccineanswers.org. We will continue to support measures to ensure widespread vaccination among our communities and other evidence-based public health measures, such as physical distancing and wearing face masks, to help protect those not yet eligible for vaccination.”

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.

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