Due to rising COVID-19 rates and the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease, the Biden Administration announced Wednesday that Americans who have received the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines will soon qualify for booster shots. A group of medical and public health experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Rochelle Wilensky, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said that individuals can get a booster shot up to eight months after becoming fully vaccinated. Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients will likely need to have a booster shot. However, officials are still gathering data.
Collectively, they acknowledged that all three vaccines authorized offer significant protection against the Delta variant. This variant accounts for 98.8% U.S. cases. They reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalizations, and even death. It wasn’t clear for a long time how long this protection would be effective.
The group stated that “the available data clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 protection begins to decline over time after the initial doses of vaccines. In addition to the dominance by the Delta variant, we’re beginning to see evidence of decreased protection against mild or moderate disease.” According to our most recent assessment, there is a possibility that the protection against death, severe illness, and hospitalization could decrease in the coming months, particularly among those at greater risk or who were vaccinated in the early phases of the vaccine rollout.
Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, told CNBC in July that the vaccine’s 96.2% effectiveness rate is steadily declining at an average of 6 percent every two months. Bourla stated that they are confident that a third dose of booster will increase the immune response to levels sufficient to protect against the Delta variant. Moderna reported that the vaccine is still 93% effective after six months. However, this rate will likely decrease.
The Food and Drug Administration granted Friday’s authorization for the CDC to recommend that only immunocompromised patients receive booster shots. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, stated that eligibility was expanded to all Americans due to new data from Israel. He said that the Israeli data shows that the most breakthrough cases are occurring among those who were immunized in January. “These are usually symptomatic, but not serious. But you can see a slight trend towards those who need hospitalization.”
However, not all people support the idea of booster shots. Director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Gabreyesus, called for a moratorium in booster shots until September. Ghebreyesus stated that countries who have used the majority of vaccines worldwide and are using more should be refused.
Since the initial rollouts of vaccines in January and February, vaccine inequity has been a problem. However, the disparity is only getting worse. Recent Kaiser Family Foundation data shows that only 1% of low-income people have had at least one shot while 51% of high-income people have had at least one.
These concerns were addressed by the Biden Administration – These concerns were raised by the Biden Administration. They pledged to address these issues and administer booster shots.
The statement states that “We will continue to intensify efforts to increase vaccinations at home and ensure that people have accurate information regarding vaccines from trusted sources.” “We will also continue our efforts to increase vaccine supply for other countries, further expanding on the 600 million doses that we have already donated globally.”