Biden administration discussing whether it must scale back ambitious Covid-19 vaccine booster plan

This stems from concerns that the US Food and Drug Administration may only be prepared to recommend booster shots for those who had the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, an official familiar with the discussions said. Right now, the agency doesn’t have enough data on Moderna to make that recommendation, according to the official. The New York Times was first to report on the discussion.

One person familiar with the matter said there was a meeting between top federal health officials and White House staff on Thursday to discuss the booster issue. In the meeting, the officials warned that more time may be needed before enough data is in to recommend boosters for all adults, the person said.

FDA officials previously tried to get the White House to not put a specific date on when people should expect Covid-19 booster shots, but they did anyway.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients and federal health officials have repeatedly said the September 20 booster rollout was pending signoff from the FDA and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. White House spokesman Chris Meagher echoed those thoughts Friday.

“We always said we would follow the science and this is all part of a process that is now underway. We are awaiting a full review and approval by the FDA and a recommendation by the (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices). When that approval and recommendation are made, we will be ready to implement the plan our nation’s top doctors developed so that we are staying ahead of this virus,” Meagher said in a statement.

The FDA is already evaluating data submitted by Pfizer/BioNTech for approval of a booster dose. Moderna said Wednesday it has started submitting data to the FDA to support giving a booster dose of its vaccine to people six months after their second dose.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet about boosters on September 17.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.


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