CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 booster shot will soon be administered to eligible long-term care residents and workers after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a key recommendation early Friday.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D, on Friday endorsed the recommendation made Thursday by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to give the booster shot to select adult populations, including residents living in long-term care facilities and seniors aged 65 and older. The CDC recommends these groups “should” receive the shot at least 6 months after their first series of shots.

The agency also overruled ACIP and recommended the booster for those who work in high-risk and institutional settings, like healthcare workers. 

“I believe we can best serve the nation’s public health needs by providing booster doses for the elderly, those in long-term care facilities, people with underlying medical conditions, and for adults at high risk of disease from occupational and institutional exposures to COVID-19,” Walensky said in a statement. “This aligns with the FDA’s booster authorization and makes these groups eligible for a booster shot.” 

The American Health Care Association immediately applauded the CDC’s recommendation. The association said the decision is another layer of protection needed to fight this virus.

“Long-term care facilities stand ready to help facilitate booster shots to those residents and staff who received the Pfizer vaccine earlier this year,” David Gifford, M.D., AHCA’s chief medical officer, said in a statement Friday. 

“Virtually all nursing homes and some assisted living communities already have steady access to COVID-19 vaccines through a long-term care pharmacy, and we anticipate the booster shot process will be fairly straightforward and the vaccines will be available quickly for these providers,” he added.