Moderna and J.& J. Boosters: What Are the Next Steps?

An independent panel of experts advising the Food and Drug Administration will examine data from coronavirus boosters Modana and Johnson & Johnson, taken on Thursday, on Friday. Each day the committee vote concludes with an emergency booster recommendation for vaccine recipients.

So what happens after the panel selects? The FDA has more steps, then the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the process ends in the states. The breakdown is as follows.


The FDA is the federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services that administers and controls pharmaceuticals related to public health and other factors and accepts recommendations from the Advisory Council that include questions about qualifications. Advisory Board votes are not binding, but the FDA usually follows them.

Executive Director and Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Janet Wooddock, will give the authorities the final say on whether and for whom boosters will be approved. Such resolutions are usually passed within days of the advisory board meeting.


The Advisory Council of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United States Department of Health, reviews decisions made by the FDA. The committee will meet next Thursday and Friday and vote on the booster recommendations.

The CDC will consider the panel’s recommendations, and the director of the government agency, Dr. Rochelle P. Worsensky, will issue guidelines to agencies on the use of boosters and who will qualify for them. These guidelines have a significant impact on states, doctors, pharmacies, other health organizations, and the general public. Like the FDA process, the panel’s recommendations are non-binding, but the CDC usually follows it.

However, last month there was a rare exception. When the CDC Advisory Board rejected the FDA’s recommendation to include frontline workers in Pfizer BioNTech amplifiers, Dr. Warrensky canceled his agency’s advisory and approved the FDA.


Health officials generally follow CDC recommendations for Pfizer BioNTech amplifiers, and the tape has been widely applied to the environment, basic medical conditions, and frontline workers.