Top health officials announced Wednesday that the Biden administration will offer coronavirus booster shots beginning Sept. 20, after concluding a third shot is needed to fight off “waning immunity.”
After reviewing a wide range of data, the administration has determined that Americans who received either the Pfzier-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines should get a booster shot eight months after receiving their second doses. Officials believe the booster shot will eventually be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but they are still reviewing that data.
The research and data showed a decline over time in the vaccines’ ability to protect against less serious disease. Officials have since determined boosters work and offer more protection against the widespread Delta variant.
“Around the six-month mark in the data, you start to see increases in mild to moderate infection,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy said at a Wednesday news briefing. “The most important purpose of the vaccine is to keep us out of the hospital and to save our life. And, fortunately, we are seeing that still holding at a high level, which is good news.”
However, Murthy continued, “our anticipation is that if the trajectory that we are seeing continues, that we will likely see in the future an increase in breakthrough hospitalizations and breakthrough deaths.”
White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci, who was also at the news briefing, added, “You want to stay ahead of the virus.”
The administration will release further information as the date to receive booster shots approaches.