As an international debate rages on over COVID booster shots, the U.S. is ready to start rolling them out to Americans as early as next month
With the highly contagious delta variant sweeping the nation, Americans have been wondering whether booster shots would become necessary to keep up their protection against COVID-19. Studies have begun to show that protection from the initial rounds of shots may start to wane within a year. Now, reports say the Biden administration is poised to recommend boosters for most Americans at the 8-month mark after receiving their first round of the vaccine.
Third rounds of the vaccine could start being offered as early as next month, according to people familiar with the Biden administration’s plans. The Food and Drug Administration would need to issue approval for a third dose of the vaccines, but the New York Times reports that an announcement could come as soon as next week, warning Americans that they need another shot to help protect them against the delta variant.
Breaking News: The Biden administration is expected to announce that most Americans should get a booster shot eight months after receiving their initial Covid-19 vaccine, and could begin offering the extra shots as early as mid-September. https://t.co/HJf3HoZzQF
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 17, 2021
Officials say they expect people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will need an additional booster as well, but they’re waiting for results from a clinical trial on patients who received two doses of that vaccine. The results should be available next month.
Once booster shots are announced and approved, they would likely go to nursing home residents, healthcare workers, and other essential workers first. Then, they’d be distributed in roughly the same order as the shots were given earlier this year, with older Americans and those with underlying health conditions first in line. People should get the same vaccine as the one they had before, officials say.
This news comes as a number of developed countries around the world are considering booster shots, drawing criticism from the World Health Organization for giving their residents more doses while many countries around the world still don’t have access to enough vaccines to give their populations any protection. The delta variant has driven case surges in countries that were previously successful at suppressing the pandemic. Now, hundreds of millions are sick around the globe, and hospitals are stressed in many countries.
In the U.S., virus cases have surged in all states. In Texas and Florida, two of the hardest-hit states in this summer’s wave, hospitals have seen record numbers of cases and reached capacity, in some areas. Particularly worrying is that many children are being hospitalized with the delta variant, and in parts of Texas, there are no pediatric ICU beds available. Kids under 12 are still not eligible for COVID vaccines.