CDC director defends controversial call for Pfizer’s COVID recall

CDC director defends controversial call for Pfizer's COVID recall

Dr Rochelle Valensky, who has been chosen to serve as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks at an event at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. On Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

Susan Walsh | PA

CDC director Dr Rochelle Valensky insisted on Friday that she had not canceled a vaccine advisory committee by expanding agency approval of Pfizer’s COVID recall to include a proposal rejected by the panel.

In an unusual move, Valensky broke with the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices, which voted 9-6 Thursday against allowing vaccines in settings at high risk of transmission. Wolensky followed up on three other panel recommendations to distribute the third injection to adults with underlying health conditions and to all people 65 years of age and older. She said the final vote, which approves additional doses for teachers, health workers and other essential workers, was a “close scientific call.”

“I want to be very clear that I did not fire an advisory committee,” Valensky said during a COVID White House briefing on Friday. “I have listened to all of the deliberations of the FDA Advisory Board and listened intently to this amazing group of scientists who have deliberately and very transparently for hours on end on some of these difficult questions and the state of the science. . “

Valensky’s directive aligns closely with Wednesday’s Food and Drug Administration decision on the recall. The agency has also consulted its panel of scientific advisers in authorizing shots for a wider audience than that approved by its advisory committee on vaccines and related biologics.

“It was a tight science call,” Valensky said, noting the two-day meeting and the heated debate. With the vote divided, Valensky said, “It was my call. If I was in the room, I would have voted yes.

He sought to reassure public confidence by encouraging people to come back and listen to the committee’s deliberations. “We did it publicly, we did it transparently and we did it with some of the best scientists in the country,” she said.

President Joe Biden said the CDC’s recommendation extended the recall to nearly 60 million Americans – including teachers, health workers and supermarket workers – during a briefing Friday morning. Valensky said the broader recall standards better protect frontline workers and account for inequities in the administration of vaccines that affect people of color.

“I am also aware of the negative impact of this pandemic on racial and ethnic minority communities,” Valensky said. “Many of our frontline workers, essential workers and people in isolated environments come from communities that are already hardest hit. “

She said blocking access to boosters for these groups would only worsen inequalities in the pandemic, with black and Hispanic Covid patients dying at higher rates than whites.

According to the CDC, more than 55% of Americans have been fully immunized and more than 2.4 million people have received boosters since the agency cleared them on Aug. 13 for people with weakened immune systems.

Valensky said the agency will work to quickly assess Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s recall data in the coming weeks.

“We intend to create several advisory committees at the CDC to consider several upcoming decisions, including Moderna, J&J, as well as pediatric vaccination,” Valensky said.

.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here