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In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, at Queen Anne Healthcare, a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility in Seattle. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, File)

The U.S. vaccination drive against COVID-19 stood on the verge of a major new phase as government advisers Thursday recommended booster doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans — despite doubts the extra shots will do much to slow the pandemic.

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In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

The U.S. moved a step closer Wednesday to offering booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens and others at high risk from the virus as the Food and Drug Administration signed off on the targeted use of extra shots.

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A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke)

Influential government advisers will debate Friday if there’s enough proof that a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective — the first step toward deciding which Americans need one and when.

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In this Aug. 26, 2021 file photo, Parsia Jahanbani prepares a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in a mobile vaccine clinic operated by Families Together of Orange County in Santa Ana, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The average person doesn’t need a COVID-19 booster yet, an international group of scientists — including two top U.S. regulators — wrote Monday in a scientific journal.

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(WTTW News)

President Joe Biden says people who have been waiting for the FDA to formally approve a COVID-19 vaccine should get their shot now to stem what he calls a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Dr. Michael Angarone of Northwestern Medicine weighs in on that and more.

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In this March 2, 2021, file photo, pharmacy technician Hollie Maloney loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The U.S. gave full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine Monday, a milestone that could boost public confidence in the shots and spur more companies, universities and local governments to make vaccinations mandatory.

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In this March 26, 2021, file photo a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department prepares a dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site setup in Philadelphia. (AP Photo / Matt Rourke, File)

U.S. regulators on Monday added a new warning to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine about links to a rare and potentially dangerous neurological reaction, but said it’s not entirely clear the shot caused the problem.

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FILE - This image provided by Biogen on Monday, June 7, 2021 shows a vial and packaging for the drug Aduhelm. (Biogen via AP, File)

The acting head of the Food and Drug Administration on Friday called for a government investigation into highly unusual contacts between some of her agency’s drug reviewers and the maker of a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug.

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People walk in Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood in September 2020. (WTTW News)

As long-haulers grapple with lingering symptoms of COVID-19, some are turning to an antiparasitic for relief. We speak with local patients and experts about the use of ivermectin for treating COVID-19.

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(Annie Spratt / Unsplash)

Dozens of different at-home COVID-19 tests are now available from big-box retailers and pharmacies. But before you run out and buy one, a few words of caution from Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease specialist at UChicago Medicine.

Plus: “Chicago Tonight” gets into the controversy behind the drug’s approval

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In this 2019 photo provided by Biogen, a researcher works on the development of the medication aducanumab in Cambridge, Mass. (Biogen via AP)

The Food and Drug Administration said it granted approval to the drug from Biogen based on results that seemed “reasonably likely” to benefit Alzheimer’s patients. It’s the only drug that U.S. regulators have said can likely treat the underlying disease, rather than manage symptoms like anxiety and insomnia.

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Periodical cicadas are identifiable by their red eyes. (Dan Keck / Pixabay)

Spicy popcorn cicadas, anyone? Not so fast, the Food and Drug Administration warns, if you have a shellfish allergy. The insects are related to shrimp and lobster. 

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In this Dec. 29, 2020, file photo, Pat Moore, with the Chester County, Pa., Health Department, fills a syringe with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before administering it to emergency medical workers and health care personnel at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

Moderna said Tuesday its COVID-19 vaccine strongly protects kids as young as 12, a step that could put the shot on track to become the second option for that age group in the U.S.

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(Myriams-Fotos / Pixabay)

Tobacco companies have long marketed menthol cigarettes to Black Americans. The CEO of the NAACP calls a potential ban of such products “long overdue,” but some people are concerned it could lead to further criminalization of communities of color.

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In this April 26, 2021, file photo, East Hartford High School senior Sudeen Pryce, right, center, receives support from classmate Alexia Phipps, left, East Hartford High School Intervention Coordinator Mark Brown, second from left, and EMT Katrinna Greene, top right, of Manchester, as RN Kaylee Cruz of Bristol administers the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine to Pryce at a mass vaccination site at Pratt & Whitney Runway in East Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo / Jessica Hill, File)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 12 to 15 by next week, according to a federal official and a person familiar with the process, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year.

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In this Thursday, April 8, 2021 file photo, the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sits on a table at a pop-up vaccinations site the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, in the Staten Island borough of New York. (AP Photo / Mary Altaffer, File)

The U.S. on Tuesday recommended a “pause” in use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of rare but potentially dangerous blood clots, setting off a chain reaction worldwide and dealing a setback to the global vaccination campaign.