Two shots apparently won’t cut it.
Biden administration officials are working on a plan to deliver COVID-19 booster shots to Americans “as early as this fall even as researchers continue to hotly debate whether extra shots are needed,” The New York Times reported.
“The first boosters are likely to go to nursing home residents and health care workers, followed by other older people who were near the front of the line when vaccinations began late last year. Officials envision giving people the same vaccine they originally received. They have discussed starting the effort in October but have not settled on a timetable,” said the Times. “While many outside experts argue there is no proof yet that the vaccines’ protection against severe disease and hospitalization is waning in the United States, administration officials say they cannot afford to put off figuring out the logistics of providing boosters to millions of people until that tipping point is reached. The spotty nature of the nation’s disease-reporting network makes the question of timing even trickier.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci last week said “inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to get boosts” to the COVID-19 vaccine, adding that the time is now for people with weakened immune systems.
Fauci said on NBC’s “Today” that “at this moment, other than the immune compromised, we’re not going to be giving boosters.”
But, he added, “inevitably there will be a time when we’ll have to get boosts” because ”no vaccine, at least not within this category, is going to have an indefinite amount of protection.”
Fauci said for others, including the elderly, data is still being gathered to determine if or when their protection goes “below a critical level.” When that happens, “that’s when you’re going to be hearing about the implementation of boosters,” he said.
The doctor’s comments came a day after a study found that mRNA vaccines’ effectiveness against Delta — particularly Pfizer’s — is already flagging against the Delta variant of COVID-19.
The Mayo Clinic study found the Pfizer vaccine was only 42% effective against the virus in July, when the Delta variant first emerged as the dominant strain. “If that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what is,” a senior Biden official told Axios.
“Overall, it found that the Moderna vaccine was 86% effective against infection over the study period, and Pfizer’s was 76%. Moderna’s vaccine was 92% effective against hospitalization and Pfizer’s was 85%,” Yahoo reported. “But the vaccines’ effectiveness against infection dropped sharply in July, when the Delta variant’s prevalence in Minnesota had risen to over 70%. Moderna was 76% effective against infection, and Pfizer was only 42% effective.”
Fauci on Tuesday called for requiring all U.S. teachers to take the COVID-19 vaccination.
“I’m going to upset people, but I think we should,” Fauci said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve had 600,000-plus deaths and we are in a major surge now as we’re going into the fall, into the school season. This is very serious business.”