US recommends COVID vaccine boosters after eight months, sources say – The Denver Submit
WASHINGTON – U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters to all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after receiving their second dose of vaccine, to ensure continued protection from the coronavirus as the Delta variant spreads across the country.
Federal health officials have been actively looking back this fall to see if additional vaccinations are needed for those vaccinated, and have reviewed the case numbers in the US as well as the situation in other countries like Israel, where preliminary studies have confirmed the vaccine’s protection against severe January disease the vaccinated back.
An announcement of the US booster recommendation was expected earlier this week, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
Doses would not be given on a large scale until the Food and Drug Administration officially approved the vaccines. This action is expected for the Pfizer shot in the coming weeks.
Last week, US health officials recommended boosters for some with compromised immune systems, citing their higher risk of contracting the virus and evidence that the vaccines’ effectiveness wore off over time.
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins said Sunday the US could decide in the next few weeks whether to offer Americans coronavirus booster vaccinations this fall.
Some of the first to receive it could include health care workers, nursing home residents, and other elderly Americans who were among the first Americans to be vaccinated.
More than 198 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of which more than 168 million have been fully vaccinated. Nevertheless, due to the more transmissible Delta variant, the country is experiencing a fourth wave of virus cases that spread aggressively in unvaccinated communities, but is also responsible for an increasing number of so-called “breakthrough infections” in fully vaccinated people.
Israel is offering a coronavirus booster to people over 60 who were vaccinated more than five months ago to help control its own surge in Delta variant cases.
For months, officials had said data still suggested that after receiving two-dose Pfizer or Moderna therapy or Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, people remained well ahead of COVID-19, including Delta Variant, are protected. However, U.S. health officials made it clear on Sunday that they were preparing for the possibility that the time for boosters might come sooner rather than later.
“There is concern that the vaccine may become less effective,” said Collins. “And Delta is an uncomfortable attempt for us to deal with it. The combination of these two means we may need booster vaccinations, perhaps first with health care providers as well as people in nursing homes, and then gradually move on with others, such as older Americans who were among the first to be vaccinated after their vaccination became available late last year .
He said since the Delta variant didn’t hit the US hard until July, the “next few weeks” of case data would help the US make a decision.
The White House has said that although the US has started sharing more than 110 million doses of vaccine with the world, the nation has enough domestic supplies to provide boosters to Americans should they be recommended by health officials.
Global health authorities, including the World Health Organization, have urged wealthier and better-vaccinated countries to withhold booster vaccinations to ensure first doses of people in developing countries.
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