White House Recommends COVID-19 Booster Vaccine 8 Months After Vaccination
The White House announced Wednesday that most Americans will need booster shots eight months after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to combat the most transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus.
The nation’s top health care officials said in a joint statement that while vaccines are highly effective, data shows their protection diminishes over time, meaning that fully vaccinated people may be more susceptible to mild and moderate illnesses. .
“Based on our latest assessment, current protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death could decline in the coming months, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the early stages of the vaccination launch. For that reason, we concluded that a booster injection will be needed to maximize the protection induced by the vaccine and prolong its durability, ”said a group of eight officials, including infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Dr. Rochelle, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walensky said in the statement.
The boosters will be available starting September 20 for people eight months after their last injection. Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, told a news conference Wednesday that it would be “as easy” to get a booster as it was to get the first two injections.
For those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster dose will likely be given, but the company has not yet completed a clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of an additional dose.
Several officials spoke at the press conference about the need to “get ahead of this virus.”
“If they wait for something bad to happen before responding, they will be considerably behind in their actual ability to respond,” Fauci said.
Nursing home residents, healthcare workers and emergency responders are likely to be prioritized, as happened late last year when the Food and Drug Administration issued emergency approval to distribute the vaccines. The agency has not yet fully approved any of the three COVID-19 vaccines currently being distributed nationwide, but is expected to grant full approval of the Pfizer drug this fall.
The announcement of the booster vaccine was expected, and has already received strong criticism from the World Health Organization and those who point to the extraordinary difficulty poor nations have had in obtaining and distributing even a round of injections. Booster injections “will exacerbate inequalities by increasing demand and consuming scarce supply”, The WHO said in a statement earlier this month.
The US panel of health experts appeared to acknowledge the criticism in its statement, which emphasized “the current urgency to vaccinate the unvaccinated in the US and around the world.”
“Almost all cases of serious illness, hospitalization and death continue to occur among those who are not yet vaccinated,” their statement read.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said at Wednesday’s press conference that he “does not accept the idea that we have to choose between America and the world.” Zients had a similar message, telling reporters that “to end this pandemic, we have to protect the American people and we have to keep doing more and more to vaccinate the world.”
Both officials pointed to US efforts to help expand manufacturing capabilities in parts of the world that are not vaccinated. Limited offer of key materialsHowever, it has presented an obstacle to further increase manufacturing.
Public health experts say that helping everyone get vaccinated against COVID-19 is essential to leaving the pandemic behind, because when the virus is allowed to spread uncontrollably, it has more opportunities to mutate into new versions and potentially still most dangerous of himself. .
One such variant, delta, is increasing the case count in much of the United States. The outlook is particularly bleak in the South, and hospitals in Arkansas and Louisiana have reported running dangerously low on space in their intensive care units. Unvaccinated patients make up the vast majority of those who are seriously ill.
More than 36 million people have had documented cases of COVID-19 in the US and more than 620,000 have died since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
“Our vaccines continue to offer the best protection against severe COVID disease,” Walensky said Wednesday. “While we are still learning about how these vaccines work over time and how long they will last against emerging variants, one thing is very clear: getting vaccinated can keep you out of the hospital. Getting vaccinated can save your life. “
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