DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– A U.S. advisory panel will discuss expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to all adults Friday, a move that could make the shots available nationwide as early as this weekend.
Right now, only the Johnson and Johnson booster is approved by the FDA, and some local health leaders say they’re hopeful that Pfizer’s booster will be approved next.
“It’s a great time, it’s a little late for Thanksgiving but certainly good for it to move forward so more are protected by Christmas,” said Health Commissioner CCCHD Charles Patterson.
COVID-19 vaccine boosters are already available for anyone 65 and older plus anyone 18 to 65 who are considered high risk medically or occupationally. Patterson believes the current eligibility leaves out a large portion of the population.
“I don’t meet the qualifications so I haven’t gotten my booster, so I’m very interested in this panel and wanting it to move forward,” said Patterson. “I want to feel good about getting my booster and follow the rules.”
Despite federal regulations, some of the nation’s largest cities have already been administering booster doses for anyone over 18 years old. That includes California, Colorado, New Mexico and New York City.
Patterson says COVID-19 cases are on the rise throughout the Miami Valley, so expanding booster eligibility may save the indoor holiday season.
“From Christmas to New Year’s, a lot more travel happens in there, it would be a great opportunity for people to get boosted before going into those high risk situations with travel and seeing family from out of town,” said Patterson.
If the panel approves the Pfizer boosters for anyone over the age of 18, they say it could start rolling out as early as this weekend.