Health officials announced on Wednesday that Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots would be available for adults in the United States beginning the week of September 20, 2021, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, discussed the effectiveness of booster shots and the government’s plan for COVID-19 boosters during a Wednesday White House briefing.
“We know that even highly effective vaccines become less effective over time,” Dr. Murthy said. “It is now our clinical judgement that the time to lay out a plan for COVID boosters is now.”
“This includes our most vulnerable populations, like our health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors. We will also begin delivering booster shots to residents of long-term care facilities.”
Anyone over the age of eighteen who received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for an additional dose eight months after their second dose.
Health officials are still researching booster shots for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials say that individuals that received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will most likely need a second shot.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reveals a reduction in protection against the virus and its new variants. The report also shows the vaccine is effective in reducing severe complications, hospitalizations, and death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) does not believe that booster shots are needed at this time.
“We’re planning to hand out extra life jackets to people who already have life jackets, while we’re leaving other people to drown without a single life,” Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program, declared.
“I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” the head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said earlier this month.
“We believe clearly today that the data today does not indicate that boosters are needed,” Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist, said during a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of the White House announcement on Wednesday.
The agency suggests that vulnerable people worldwide should be fully vaccinated before administering booster shots.
“We are a long, long way from that,” Bruce Aylward, WHO Senior Adviser, said during the news conference.
Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that the vaccination rate between wealthy and developing countries is growing.
“We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries,” the head of WHO said.
“The fact that we are vaccinating healthy adults with a booster dose of COVID-1 vaccines is a short-sighted way of thinking,” Elin Hoffmann Dahl, a medical adviser, said.
“With the emergence of new variants, if we continue to leave the majority of the world unvaccinated, we will most definitely need adjusted vaccines in the future,” Dahl told Reuters.
Health officials in the United States dismissed WHO’s grievance.
“To end this pandemic, we have to protect the American people, and we have to continue to do more and more to vaccinate the world,” Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said. “Both are critical.”
Dr. Murthy disagrees with Dr. Ryan’s analogy and says that the United States does not have to choose between protecting its citizens and the rest of the world.
“We clearly see our responsibility to both,” Dr. Murthy said.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to protect people here at home while recognizing that tamping down the pandemic and getting people vaccinated across the world is going to be key to preventing the rise of future variants. the Surgeon General expressed. “We know that.”
The number of new infections continues to rise. The United States reports the highest daily number of new infections in the world.
According to Reuters, 137,655 new infections are being reported each day on average in the United States.
The United States has administered at least 357,894,995 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since it became available.