PHILADELPHIA–In response to today’s meeting of vaccine experts on the authorization of booster doses, the Health Department issued the following review of the process for approving the use of COVID vaccine booster doses, and a statement.

On the booster dose process:

On Friday, September 17, the U.S. FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) unanimously recommended a coronavirus vaccine booster be authorized for people who received both doses of Pfizer COVID vaccine and are either 65 and older or at high risk of severe disease. The U.S. FDA will now review the recommendation and make a decision about authorization. Next week, the U.S. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet to review the authorization and make a recommendation on how to administer booster doses. If all of that happens, and based on the details of FDA’s authorization and the CDC’s recommendation, the Health Department and vaccine partner organizations can begin administering Pfizer COVID vaccine boosters in Philadelphia.

Statement from Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole:

“We have been closely watching the published reports and discussions on the utility of COVID booster doses,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole. “Today’s meeting of outside experts, and their recommendation to allow people over the age of 65 and at high risk for severe COVID to be given a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine six months after they completed the two-dose series, is the first step in this process. We are eagerly awaiting to hear from the FDA and CDC on when we can begin administering booster doses. In the meantime, being fully vaccinated against COVID is still the best protection against severe COVID disease and death and we encourage everyone in Philadelphia who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”