WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS News) — An outside panel of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine experts voted unanimously to endorse Moderna’s request to roll out booster shots of its COVID-19 vaccine for older and higher-risk adults who were vaccinated at least six months ago.

The vote follows an hours-long meeting discussing the safety and need for an additional dose. Most studies currently suggest the vaccine remains highly effective at protecting most people against severe COVID-19 infections and death.

However, members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee agreed with Moderna and federal health officials who argued that a third, smaller dose should be authorized to boost protection against breakthrough infections in the face of the highly contagious Delta variant, combined with a looming flu season experts warn could be unusually severe for hospitals.

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