President Joe Biden may soon be urging Americans to get a COVID-19 booster jab after eight months of being fully vaccinated, according to a new report.
Two Biden administration officials told The New York Times that the president could push for some Americans to get the boost as early as mid-September, though that will depend on the projected trajectory of the COVID-19 Delta variant and new data.
“Officials are planning to announce the administration’s decision as early as this week,” reported the Times. “Their goal is to let Americans know now that they will need additional protection against the Delta variant that is causing surging caseloads across the nation.”
Officials are already urging those who are immunocompromised to get the boosters, in part, because of data from the Israeli health system.
“Some administration officials have viewed Israel as a kind of template for the United States because it started vaccinating its population sooner,” noted the Times. “Israel has almost exclusively used the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and it has a nationalized health care system that allows it to systematically track patients.”
The Associated Press reports that the booster doses would likely be available mid-to-late September after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to grant full approval to the two-shot Pfizer vaccine.
Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA put out a joint statement in response to Pfizer’s plan to offer a booster within weeks. “People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating the country such as Delta,” the statement said, later adding: “Americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.”
But as the Delta variant sweeps over the U.S., officials are reconsidering their advice. They have not yet settled on whether to suggest even the elderly receive a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the White House’s senior advisor on the COVID-19 pandemic, said, last week, that “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.
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