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08/17/2021

U.S. health officials expected to recommend 3rd COVID-19 vaccine booster

U.S. health experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans beginning eight months after they received their second dose of the vaccine, according to an AP report.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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U.S. health experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans this week, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country, according to an AP report.

Doses would only begin to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines. That action is expected for the Pfizer shot in the coming weeks.

Last week, U.S. officials recommended booster shots for some with weakened immune systems, citing their higher risk of catching the virus and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness waned over time.

[Related Content: Vaccine Nation: Profiling states leading in vaccination rates]

The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, said the U.S. could decide in the next couple weeks whether to offer coronavirus booster shots to Americans this fall.

Among the first to receive them could be health care workers, nursing home residents and other older Americans, who were some of the first Americans to be vaccinated once the shots received emergency use authorization last December.

“There is a concern that the vaccine may start to wane in its effectiveness,” Collins said. “And delta is a nasty one for us to try to deal with. The combination of those two means we may need boosters, maybe beginning first with health care providers, as well as people in nursing homes, and then gradually moving forward” with others, such as older Americans who were among the first to get vaccinations.

Due to the fact that the delta variant has only started hitting the United States hard in July, the next couple of weeks of case data will help officials make a decision, Collins also stated. 

Officials were continuing to collect information as well about the J&J vaccine, which was only approved in the United States in late February, to determine when to recommend boosters, one of the officials said.

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