The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, has defended her decision to overrule an agency panel's decision on who should be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine boosters, saying that she made the decision on her own and based on her expertise, Stat News reports.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for individuals 65 years old or older as well as for some younger people at increased risk of contracting the virus. An outside expert panel to the CDC, which determines eligibility for the booster shot, then recommended limiting the third dose to older individuals and younger individuals with underlying medical conditions. Walensky, however, overrode the panel — the recommendations of which the CDC usually follows — to allow others at increased of contracting SARS-CoV-2 due to exposure at their jobs to also receive a booster.
The Times noted then that Walensky might not have had a choice, as the Biden Administration had been pushing for booster shots to be widely available to US adults.
But according to Stat News, Walensky says it was her own decision. "I know that if I had been in the room voting, I would have voted to offer boosters to that group, and that's ultimately where I laid," Walensky said to a group of reporters, according to Stat News.