Who can get the new COVID vaccine?

(NEXSTAR) – Vaccine makers say their updated booster shots could be in pharmacies by the end of the week, and unlike early COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, this one is recommended for just about everyone right from the start.

A panel of advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Tuesday to recommend the updated booster shots made by Pfizer and Moderna for everyone 6 months and older.

One expert on the 14-member panel voted against the majority, saying the new shots should initially be kept only for older people and those at risk of severe illness. However, that person was overruled 13 to 1.

The Food and Drug Administration also approved the updated shots for adults and children as young as age 6 months. 

Even if you’ve never had a single shot, this vaccine is recommended for most people starting at age 5, the FDA said. Younger children might need additional doses depending on their history of COVID-19 infections and vaccinations.

The CDC’s director signed off on the panel’s recommendation a few hours after the vote. The doses should start becoming available at pharmacies, clinic and vaccination sites within a few days.

Even with the new vaccines cleared for all Americans except young infants, it’s not clear how many people will rush to get an updated dose. Only 17% of the U.S. population is up to date on the COVID vaccine series, according to CDC data.

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