US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy outlined the White House’s plan to provide Covid-19 booster shots for fully vaccinated Americans. Qualified, fully vaccinated adults will be eligible for their booster shots beginning Sept. 20, he said.
The official said that after reviewing the most current data, they’ve assessed the time to lay out the plan for boosters “is now.”
“The Covid-19 vaccines that are authorized in the United States have been remarkably effective, even against the widespread Delta variant. But we know even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time. Our goal has been to determine when that time might come for the Covid-19 vaccines so we can make a plan to take proactive steps to extend and enhance the protection the vaccines are giving us. Having reviewed the most current data, it is now our clinical judgment, that the time to lay out a plan for Covid-19 boosters is now,” Murthy said during an press briefing from the White House Covid-19 response team.
Murthy noted that recent data has shown that vaccine induced protection “against mild and moderate disease has decreased over time.”
“This is likely due to both waning immunity and the strength of the widespread Delta variant. Even though this new data affirms that vaccine protection remains high against the worst outcomes of Covid, we are concerned that this pattern of decline we’re seeing will continue in the months ahead which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death,” Murthy added.
Due to those concerns, Murthy said that Covid-19 booster shots will be available for fully vaccinated adults, 18 years and older. Fully vaccinated adults would be eligible for the booster shot eight months after they received their second does of Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines.
“This plan is pending the FDA conducting an independent evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Modern mRNA vaccines. And the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices issuing booster dose recommendations ,based on a thorough review of the evidence. The plan ensures that people who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout will be eligible for a booster first. This includes our most vulnerable populations like our health care providers, nursing home residents and other seniors,” Murthy added.
The US surgeon general noted that booster shots will also likely be needed for people who initially received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but that they are awaiting more data.